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Industry Applauds Victory for Pa. Park Trailers

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July 18, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

John Soard

Matt Wald

The RV industry is celebrating a decision from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania that supports a campground's right to place park trailers on its property.

The ruling affirmed that the Dingman Township highway permit provision in the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance is invalid.

According to a news release from the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA), the state association and and the RV Industry Association (RVIA) jointly filed an amicus brief in support of appellee, Lake Adventure Community Association Inc.

“This collaboration is an example of industry unity at its finest,” PRVCA Executive Vice President Rebecca Lenington stated in the news release. “We would like to send a special thank you to McNees Wallace and Nurick, as well as Tammy Lee Clause, Esq., for their diligent effort during this process.”

“I am very pleased with the outcome of the appeal,” John Soard, general manager of Fairmont Park Trailers and member of the RV Industry Association (RVIA) Park Trailer Committee states. “The process has been a long fought battle for the past 2-3 years.”

The provision in question amended the definition of a recreational vehicle to one “that does not require a special highway moving permit when transported” and “a vehicular unit, mounted on wheels, of such size or weight as not to require special highway moving permits when drawn by motorized vehicles (8.5 feet wide maximum).”

This change to the definition restricted RV parks from having sites for park models. Lake Adventure Community Association, the property owner in this case, argued that RVs with slide-outs are allowed on the property. The slide-outs RVs are eight feet wide as they travel over the roadway, but once parked, and the slides are engaged, they are 12 feet wide making the parked unit basically the same size as a park model. The only different is the size of the unit when being transported.

The Court of Common Pleas of Pike County ordered the provision invalid. After an appeal by the Dingman Township Board of Supervisors, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania also affirmed that the Ordinance is invalid.

“This is a great win for the RV industry,” Dan Saltzgiver, PRVCA member and RVIA Park Trailer Committee member, says. “This is one more decision that we can use to ensure that park trailers remain part of the RV industry and that the future of destination camping will continue to be a growing segment of the industry.”

The decision has positive impact not only for park trailer sales in Pennsylvania, but for the public as well. “The decision is a win for the consumer, “Soard says. “The ordinance had kept consumers from upgrading their camper to newer, safer, and more efficient models. An added benefit is regulatory consistency throughout Pennsylvania as it applies to all RVs. Dingman Township’s ordinance was contrary to existing state law, meaning a consumer could purchase a model in one township not understanding they might not be able to use it in Dingman Township.”

The outcome of this case will make a significant impact on any future questions regarding park trailers – both in Pennsylvania and nationwide. “The case will have significant precedental value in Pennsylvania as no local jurisdiction will be able to discriminate against park model RVs based on the fact that they require special moving permits to operate on public roads,” Matt Wald, RVIA’s Park Trailer executive director, says. “And while it may have limited precedental value nationwide, it will have significant value in working with local jurisdictions and zoning officials all over the country who are confused about what park model RVs are and how they can and should be used.”

“The RV industry is surely one to be commended as a group and the combined efforts of the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association, RVIA and RPTIA together have made this happen,” Saltzgiver says.

Community Association Response

Tom Annunziata, the Lake Adventure Community Association (LACA) president, stated in part on the association's website in response to the court's ruling, "They (the court) felt the Town of Dingman did not have the right to restrict our use of the solid chassis trailers.  The Town still has the right to challenge this decision.  After losing the decision and appeal in lower court and now this defeat, I feel confident this will be the end of our struggles. Thank you all for your patience and support."

In an earlier web posting, he noted that during the association's presentation before the court in Harrisburg in mid-June, "The judges were very curious about what LACA was about. They asked many probing questions which our lawyer felt cleared up many vague points made by the town.

"As we all know, the town has muddied the waters with could and woulda. They misrepresented our trailers as mobile homes or modulars…"

For more information on PRVCA and RVIA, visit www.prvca.org.

 

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