ELS Mobe Park Residents Balk at RV Invasion

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October 1, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Peoria, Ariz., senior Nan Cords says she chose to call Apollo Village home only after being assured that recreational vehicles would not share space with the manufactured-home lots in the 1970s retirement community, the Arizona Republic reported.

But more than a year ago, she and others in the 261-lot community in this city of 100,000 on the northwest side of Phoenix noticed RVs parked where there should be only manufactured homes. Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), the owner of Apollo Village, had leased the space to RV owners. And it was done without a special permit the city requires.

About six RVs are parked in the manufactured-home community. At the peak, during the Super Bowl in 2008. there were about 20, according to resident Floyd Krause.

Peoria planners say zoning would allow a limited number of RVs on the property if a conditional use permit is obtained. ELS filed a retroactive application for such a permit, and staff is recommending approval to the Planning and Zoning Commission next week.

The reason the city is recommending the permit be issued is because Apollo Village was built when old zoning was in place. Under current zoning, the city would not allow RVs in a manufactured-home community, Chris Jacques, the city's planning manager, said.

"If they (ELS) had come in now, we would not have allowed RVs in there," Jacques said.

City planners have placed some caveats to mitigate negative impacts on the neighbors. But dozens of residents plan to attend the planning meeting to protest, saying the RVs are loud, damage the community's roads and were never part of the deal.

The code violation came to light after residents complained to the city about the noisy vehicles and some other issues with the upkeep of the property, Cords said.

That's when city staff inspected the property and noted the RVs shouldn't be there without the special permit. For now, no more are allowed until the planning commission hears the matter.

"It's not right," an upset Cords recently told the Republic. "The owners have allowed RVs and fifth-wheelers to come on the property without permission."

Jacques said the city recommends that RVs be limited to 30 to 35 at a time, or 15% of the total lots. They would also be restricted to certain areas on the property, further away from the manufactured homes.

Company officials say they plan to stick to just under that 15 percent mark.

The city further recommends requiring a minimum 30 days' lease to prevent transient use.

Rod Jarvis, the attorney representing Apollo Village, said he was surprised residents were still upset. Jarvis said he thought the residents were OK with the RVs after the company addressed their other complaints related to upkeep over the summer.

"We've worked hard with the neighbors; we've stretched ourselves," Jarvis said.

He said the community's marketing material does not prohibit RVs.

He noted that the residents wanted the streets and sidewalks repaired, among other things, which were addressed. "There was no further input from them and we thought we were in agreement, he said.

Not so, Cords said.

"No sir, we did not have an agreement," she said she told Jarvis after a planning meeting last month. "You did maintenance work but that was not our agreement to bring RVs in."

This isn't the only community where ELS has violated city code. Peoria also wrote up the company for allowing RVs at Casa Del Sol West, another senior manufactured-home community, without a permit.

Jarvis said they're filing an application for that one.

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