Morgan RV Resort's Maine Conversion Raises Questions
The Board of Selectmen has fielded numerous complaints about changes at Flagg's RV Park since the York Beach, Maine, campground became Flagg's RV & Cottage Resort this spring.
Flagg's management has replaced an estimated 10 seasonal, privately owned recreational vehicles with six duplex cottages, according to former park manager Larry Cormier. Whether the cottages are also considered RVs is a question currently being determined by the town Code Enforcement Office, seacoastonline.com reported.
Seasonal residents remaining in the estimated 70 RV sites still at Flagg's have voiced concern they will also be evicted.
Selectmen Chairman Tracy Jackson McCarty said June 13 she's heard from neighbors on Garrison Avenue and Webber Road, where the campground is located, fearing the nightly and weekly cottage rentals will increase traffic.
Selectmen Vice Chairman Mary Andrews wonders what the change means to York Beach as an affordable vacation destination. The cottages rent for $1,499 weekly, compared to the estimated $5,000 cost per season to park an RV there.
"To me, this is getting rid of trying to keep York a family place to come," Andrews said. "(It's) making it more yuppie."
Despite the complaints, if Flagg's is replacing RV units with other RV units and calling them cottages, there's nothing the town can do because that change violates no town code, Community Development Director Steve Burns has told selectmen.
However, if Flagg's is replacing RVs with manufactured housing, the change of use would not be allowed, Burns said. The violation would likely end up going before the town's board of appeals, Burns said.
"It's not looking like a camper to us," Burns told selectmen June 13. "The more we get into it, the less OK it looks. It looks like a manufactured housing park."
Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal inspected the cottages with Morgan employee Jessica Doane on June 17, he said. He has yet to make the determination whether the cottages violate town code.
Robert Moser of Morgan RV Resorts, owner of Flagg's, has not returned phone calls for comment.
Morgan RV Resorts of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., offers cottage rentals at numerous parks nationwide, according to its website, www.morganrvresorts.com. Morgan bought Flagg's in 2006.
The cottages are advertised as seasonal, two-family units, according to former manager Cormier.
Morgan intends to bring in 60 cottages, sell 20 of them and rent the other 40, he said in an interview at his home at Flagg's. Company officials have said they will allow some of the privately owned, seasonal RVs to stay at Flagg's, he said.
Cormier and his wife and co-manager, Bernice Cormier, were let go by Moser on May 20 after asking to be reimbursed for money they said they spent at the park out-of-pocket, according to Cormier, who produced e-mail correspondence to that effect.
The couple had been working for Morgan RV Resorts at Flagg's for an estimated four years, they said.
The Cormiers were given the task of telling the estimated 10 seasonal RV owners whose spots would make way for the new cottages to remove their recreational vehicles from the park by May 1, they said.
"Everyone here is our personal friend. Our job was to take care of the seasonals," said Larry Cormier. "This is a campground. They're turning it into rental property."