Settlement Near in Maine Resort's Park Model Dispute?
The owner of Flagg's RV & Cottage Resort LLC in York Beach, Maine, wants to settle a lawsuit brought against the town for ordering six new, cottage-like park models removed from its grounds, according to Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal.
"I would hope that this could be settled in the next month or so," McDougal said March 9.
McDougal said he could release no further details, but if a settlement is reached it will go to the Board of Selectmen for approval, seacoast online.com reported.
Flagg's owner, Robert Moser, said Monday (March 12) he knew his attorney, David Ordway of Saco, was working with the town on a settlement agreement. He referred further comment to Ordway, who could not be reached.
Flagg's took its case to York County Superior Court after the York Board of Appeals in September, and again in October, upheld McDougal's June 28 Notice of Violation & Order for Corrective Action ordering the park models removed from the park. McDougal said the park models violated town ordinance density standards as the new units more closely resembled manufactured housing than recreational vehicles, as claimed by Flagg's.
The June 28 town order said violations of the town's zoning ordinance are subject to fines or $100 to $2,500 per day for each violation. It is unknown whether the potential settlement agreement is related to the fines that could be levied by McDougal should Flagg's lose its case in superior court, the removal of the units, or both.
York was the first town known to have challenged the national RV industry trend of moving park models into camper parks. The park models are recognized in the industry and by state and federal standards as recreational vehicles, according to Moser.
Moser is president of Morgan RV Resorts LLC, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a company that owns numerous RV parks from Maine to Florida. They've had no other problems with park models in other towns, he has said.
Park models have become the trend in RV campgrounds nationwide, according to Bill Garpow, executive director of Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).
"Recreational vehicle parks have determined they can increase their cash flow and bottom line as a RV park if they do more rental use than just allowing people to bring in their own units," Garpow said in July.
Last spring, Flagg's management told 10 RV owners in the Garrison Avenue park to remove their recreational vehicles to make way for the new six park models. One seasonal Flagg's resident said he paid an estimated $5,000 a year to park his RV there, while the park models rent for an estimated $1,400 a week.
McDougal inspected the units and ruled they did not fit the definition of an RV by town ordinances because they, unlike street-legal RVs, need to be escorted as "wide loads" when in transit; do not have wheels underneath when parked; and have air conditioning condensers and propane gas tanks freestanding on concrete pads versus being attached as normally found on RVs.