Florida County Notes Few Code Problems with RV Parks

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June 3, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Most of the 79 RV parks in Florida's Lee County present fewer problems for code enforcement officers than single-family neighborhoods, according to the Fort Myers News-Press.

During the past 10 years, Lee County, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach code enforcers wrote 1,032 violations in RV parks. That represents about 3% of the parks' estimated population.

Outside of RV parks, code enforcers have written more than 220,000 violations during that same period — roughly one code violation for every two people living in Lee County.

"There's probably not a lot of mowing violations or junked car violations in RV parks — and there aren't many vacant lots in RV parks, either," said Bob Stewart, the Lee County building official who oversees code enforcement.

"Think about it … RVs are winter residents' second homes. They're not here to create code violations. They're here to play golf and shuffleboard — not take out a car engine and hang it in a tree."

Nothing at the state or county level requires routine inspections of RV parks, and the small number of violations is not because of a lack of enforcement, said Joan LaGuardia, spokeswoman for Lee County Community Development.

Most code violations in RV parks have to do with winter residents not knowing the local laws, said Fran Myers, owner of the Red Coconut RV Park on Fort Myers Beach.

"For the most part, park management and the homeowners' associations do a real good job of self-policing," said Chris Campbell, code enforcement supervisor for the city of Bonita Springs. "But each park has its own issues."

Manna Christian Village — a low-income recreational vehicle park just outside Bonita Springs — accounted for a quarter of all code violations issued to RV parks by Lee County over the past decade.

"It was truly an anomaly," Stewart said.

For the past 15 years, county officials have been trying to improve conditions at Manna Christian. It hasn't been easy. Floods and evacuations in 1995 and 2008 spotlighted the migrant community.

In 2005, when the city took over enforcing codes from the county, every trailer at the 44-unit park off New York Street had an add-on, Campbell said.

"Now they don't," Campbell said. "We're trying to clean up years and years of non-compliance. It's come a long way, but we still have a long way to go."

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