Life Nearly Back to Normal at York, Maine, RV Park
Life is almost back to normal at Flagg's RV Resort LLC in York, Maine, as seasonal residents return to a changed park.
After controversy and with a related lawsuit now settled, there are an estimated 30 recreational vehicles in the York Beach campground that once held more than 80, seacoast online.com reported.
Yet the start of the summer season has brought a "calm after the storm" response from returning residents interviewed.
"I'm one of the 30 that stayed the course," said Pat Lee, who is back at Flagg's with her husband, Jack Lee. "I'm optimistic. I've been in the park 50-plus years. Seasons come, seasons go. I think this too shall pass."
When not at Flagg's, the Lees are in Palm City, Fla. Pat Lee originally went to Flagg's with her parents. She and her husband, who have been married for 46 years, carry on the tradition.
"I just like the location," she said.
Melvin "Bud" and Pamela Riggs of Oklahoma expect to return on June 26. They've also spent many summers at Flagg's.
"We've decided it's the place we want to be and where we will stay," Bud Riggs said. "We're looking forward to it. Even though there's not as many of us there this summer, it's going to be a closer knit group because there's less of us."
Last year, Flagg's management asked an estimated 10 seasonal residents of the park to remove their recreational vehicles to make way for six park-owned park models. The new models were meant to be rented out for stays shorter than an entire summer season.
One Flagg's resident interviewed last year said he paid an estimated $5,000 a year to park his RV there, compared to the park models, which rent for an estimated $1,400 a week.
Amid uncertainty over their own futures, many left Flagg's, moving their RVs to Camp Eaton in York, or further north to a campground in Wells and other areas.
Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal had objected to the new park models and ordered them removed. He said the units did not fit the town's definition of recreational vehicles and likened them to manufactured housing, which is not allowed in the park under town ordinance.
Flagg's appealed the order to the town's Appeals Board, and when it lost its case there, filed a lawsuit against McDougal and the town in York County Superior Court.
This spring, both sides came to an agreement that ended litigation. Flagg's removed the six units, replacing them with smaller park models that fit the town's definition of a recreational vehicle, according to Robert Moser, who heads Flagg's.
The new, 8-foot-wide park models were not yet set up for occupancy as of Monday (June 11), according to Moser.
The court agreement allows Flagg's to have RVs that do not to exceed 8 1/2 feet in width in travel mode. The wheels need to stay on the RVs, and they need to be capable of being transported without the assistance of a commercial truck, according to the consent judgment.
Flagg's is able to attach a "Florida room" or "add-a-room" to the new units.
The company has yet to decide whether to bring in more park-owned units, or open the park to more seasonal recreational vehicles to fill the vacant sites, Moser said.
"There's still a large group of seasonal residents in the park," Moser said on June 6. "Obviously we wanted to work everything out with the town. We haven't finalized a plan. We're trying to be good neighbors."
McDougal said Friday he had yet to inspect the new units to make sure they fit the standards of the order, but would be doing so soon.
York's case was precedent-setting, according to McDougal. Last year he fielded numerous phone calls from officials in other towns who wanted to know how York handled the issue.
Moser had originally argued that the park models he moved into the park last year were accepted industry-wide. He runs Morgan RV Resorts LLC in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., which owns numerous RV parks nationwide, including Flagg's RV Resort.
Bill Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), said last year that park-owned RVs are the trend as they generate more revenue than the rental income from seasonal trailers that are privately owned.