Utah RV Park Sues City to Extend RVers Visits
The owners of an RV park are asking officials in Springville, Utah, to allow patrons to stay longer at the park.
In February 2011, the Winkel family purchased the East Bay RV Park near the freeway entrance to Springville, a paved 175-site facility. Since then, they have come to the city asking for a change in city ordinance to accommodate longer-staying patrons. City officials, however, are concerned about people essentially moving in and never leaving, the Daily Herald, Provo, reported.
"In the last meetings before the city council passed the ordinance, the Winkels made a presentation," Springville city administrator Troy Fitzgerald said. "Their request was to have 120-day stays with no hiatus. In the final meetings, the Winkels orally discussed 180-day stays with a three-day hiatus for the patron, while allowing the recreational vehicle to stay in the park."
Fitzgerald continued, "For more than 10 years, Springville allowed for stays of up to 120 consecutive days with a five-day hiatus period in between. Following the adoption of an ordinance limiting stays to 120 days in a calendar year, the Winkels then initiated legal action."
According to the complaint, "the city may not require recreational vehicles to be removed from the park and may not impose length of absence requirements upon patrons of the park." City officials disagreed with this, and the court shot it down, essentially saying, according to Fitzgerald, that East Bay RV Park cannot allow people to live in the park. They can only stay a certain number of days.
NJN Development Group, the former owners, sued Springville city in 1999. The lawsuit was dismissed and the sides agreed to a settlement on May 31, 2000, according to a settlement agreement and release document provided by the Winkel family. In that agreement, park patrons are allowed to stay for 15 days with up to seven renewals — 120 total days, with the hiatus days in between.
Warren Winkel, one of the RV park owners, is frustrated with the time and cost to resolve what they believe is an issue of individual property owners being allowed to have a profitable business and a city government wanting to control property usage within their boundaries. They're asking for people to be able to stay there at least 120 days without the hiatus, or at least not require the RV to move during the hiatus, he said.
"It's frustrating. I hope we can resolve the issue of how long people can stay," Winkel said. "When the ordinance enforcement officer came out and issued a citation for not complying with the ordinance we tried to settle this with the city council. We brought suit because we felt they were overreaching. Some of the people who stay here are construction workers and we have some who come for weeks of medical treatment. We have a nice facility with paved roads, a pool, Internet and other services. We want to let them stay in the park."
Keith Scott, 75, is staying in the park while he receives medical treatment.
"We are staying here in our fifth-wheel while I see my doctors for the next few weeks to treat my leg," Scott explained. "With my Good Sam club discount it costs me about $33.69 a night, which is a lot better than my wife and I having to pay for a hotel. We get to visit our family while we are here and see our granddaughter. We live in our fifth wheel now full-time. We come here and go down to Palisades and the St. George area. This is a nice clean park and we like it here."
In addition to paved RV pads, the park has 15 cabins, which appear permanent. According to Winkel, the 440-square-foot units are known as park models and are moveable if needed. Each cabin has a kitchen and bedroom and bathroom and rent for $75 a night.
"These park models are legal to have in an RV park," Winkel explained. "They look more permanent, but underneath they can be disconnected and moved if needed. We have a waiting list for them in the summer and they are very popular."
As the Winkel family tries to keep their vacancies to a minimum, Springville city is concerned that their RV park will become a mobile home community.
"After two years of back and forth, we are more encouraged and feel like we are close to a resolution," Winkel said. "We want this to be resolved and it looks like we're finally close. We found a letter from the city, dated March 4, 1999, which allowed a five-day hiatus. We hope to preserve that as part of the settlement."