After a conference call with state executives last week, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) announced it was coordinating a grassroots effort to support a legislative proposal in Congress to clearly define recreational vehicles.
While the legislation is something ARVC and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) have long sought, the push gained urgency when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it was changing course on park model RVs and including factory-built porches in its figuring of the 400-square-foot maximum for living space in park model RVs.
State associations have started to pass the information along to members to emphasize ARVC's request. For instance, both the Arizona and California associations of RV parks and campgrounds sent out ARVC's information to members today (Oct. 20).
In addition, California's Executive Director Debbie Sipe included additional information, writing to members, "It's very important that we all contact our representatives in Washington, D.C., to tell them how we feel about HUD interference with our industry. "
"The form is easy to fill out (I just did mine), the system will even pick your proper Congressional representatives for you. You can use the standard letter that's already there, or even better, customize it to fit your particular campground," Sipe wrote.
To access the online letter directly, click here.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) announced it is urging private park owners across the country to join an online letter-writing campaign in support of legislation to protect the legal standing of park model RVs as recreational vehicles.
The legislation, HR 5658, was introduced after the Department of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a new regulatory interpretation memorandum that redefines park models with factory added porches as manufactured homes, effective April 1.
“We are mobilizing private park operators across the country to support HR 5658 because if park model RVs with factory built porches are no longer defined as recreational vehicles, local zoning officials could require them to be removed from campgrounds,” said Jeff Sims, ARVC’s director of state relations and program advocacy, adding, “The regulatory change could also make park models subject to local property taxes.”
ARVC told state campground association executives in a conference call this morning (Oct. 17) that an automated letter writing program has been developed that gives park operators the ability to send electronic letters in support of HR 5658 to their congressional representatives. ARVC and its state affiliates are emailing links to the letter this week so that they can participate in the campaign.
Last week, ARVC President and CEO Paul Bambei co-signed a letter to HUD Secretary Julian Castro with Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President and CEO Richard Coon and Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Phil Ingrassia in which they urged Castro to withdraw HUD’s regulatory interpretation memorandum until Congress has a chance to amend HUD law to protect the current status of park models.
HR 5658 was introduced in September by Republican Reps. Marlin Stutzman and Jackie Walorski of Indiana and Republican Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin. It would exempt park models of 400 square feet or less from the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, which forms part of the HUD code. It would also protect the legal status of park models that have been placed in campgrounds during the past two decades.
Park model RVs have previously been technically defined as recreational vehicles according to the HUD, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A119.5 standard and a majority of states’ laws. This makes park model RVs exempt from property taxes. But the descriptions of park model RVs in the HUD code are not as clear as they could be and not every state clearly defines park models as a type of RV.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) announced it is now providing its state affiliates with information on product recalls that could affect health and safety of private park operators and/or their guests.
ARVC monitors recall notices from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and sends relevant recall notices to affiliated state executives along with information to members via the ARVC State Brief and ARVC News.
Product recalls have been issued this year for a variety of products widely used in campgrounds, RV parks and resorts, which are listed below along with phone numbers for the respective manufacturers who have issued the recall notices:
- Coleman Rubber River Tubes sold exclusively at Walmart due to skin irrigation hazard: (800) 835-3278.
- Hewlett-Packard Notebook Computer AC Power Cord due to fire and burn hazards: (877) 219-6676.
- Kidde Smoke / Carbon Monoxide Alarms due to alarm failure: (844) 553-9011.
- Northstar Liquid Fuel Lantern due to fire hazard: (800) 835-3278.
- Siemens SBGA-34 Fire Alarm due to alarm failure: (800) 516-9964.
- Trident Pool Gate Latches due to failure to secure hazardous areas: (800) 409-3901.
- Trident Ultraviolet Sanitation System for Pools due to fire hazards: (800) 621-5886.
Based in Centennial, Colo., ARVC is a national trade association representing the interests of privately-owned RV parks, resorts and campgrounds. Membership comprises RV park and campground owners and operators, industry suppliers, franchisors and others committed to promoting the growth and welfare of the RV park and campground sector of the outdoor hospitality industry through development and implementation of legislative, regulatory, educational and promotional programs and activities.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) announced today (Oct. 9) it is supporting legislation sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) that would clarify the definition of a manufactured home to exclude park model RVs. It is also supported by the RV Dealers Association (RVDA).
The legislation, HR 5658, was introduced in September by Reps. Marlin Stutzman and Jackie Walorski (both R-Ind.) and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.). It would exempt park models of 400 square feet or less from the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, which forms part of the HUD code.
Park model RVs are technically defined as recreational vehicles according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A119.5 standard and a majority of states’ laws. This makes park model RVs exempt from property taxes. But the descriptions of park model RVs in the HUD code are not as clear as they could be and not every state clearly defines park models as a type of RV, according to ARVC.
As a result, ARVC and RVIA representatives said they spend a considerable amount of time on the phone each week with municipalities across the country that question whether park model RVs should be subject to property taxes. ARVC maintains that park model RVs should only be taxed as personal property.
HUD is also revisiting its interpretation of some of its enforcement positions with regarding to the line between RVs and manufactured housing, according to Matt Wald, RVIA’s executive director for park model RVs.
“It is RVIA’s position that RVs, built for recreational, seasonal and camping use, belong in campgrounds or other recreational areas while manufactured housing, built as permanent residences, belongs in housing communities,” Wald said.
While the distinction between park model RVs and manufactured housing is well understood by those with intimate knowledge of HUD law, the language of existing law is not clear enough for lenders, zoning and tax officials, who often try to tax park models as manufactured housing, Wald said.
“RV lenders are concerned that, given new banking regulations, they need more clarity as to where the line between RVs and manufactured housing is drawn if they are going to continue to make consumer loans for some types of RVs,” Wald said.
Wald told Woodall's Campground Management that the entire outdoor hospitality industry needs to stand together and urge members of Congress across the country to support the legislation to clarify definitions.
ARVC and RVIA are also collaborating in an effort to identify states where legislation can be developed specifically to exempt park models from property taxes. Such legislation became law in Utah last year, for example.
Jeff Sims, ARVC’s director of state relations and program advocacy, said he often provides park operators with talking points and code sections they can share with city officials to clarify their questions about park models. In others, Sims reaches out to city officials directly to inform them that park models are a type of RV.
Sometimes, however, private park operators bring problems on themselves when they fail to register their park models with their state’s department of motor vehicles. While they may think they are saving money by avoiding the DMV registration fee, the tactic can backfire on them later if local officials question whether their park model is indeed a type of vehicle and they do not have a DMV registration form to prove that it is.
Private park operators can also create problems for themselves and for the RV and outdoor hospitality industries in general if they allow people to live in park model RVs on a permanent basis, according to ARVC. Park model RVs are designed and legally permitted for seasonal or part-time use.
In addition to performing a watchdog role in protecting private parks from new laws and regulations that increase the cost of doing business, the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) announced it is making a strategic move to rewrite many of the nationally recognized standards for private parks.
These standards are contained in a variety of federal laws and regulations, including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1194 Standard for Recreational Vehicle Parks & Campgrounds; the National Electric Code NFPA 70; the Uniform Plumbing Code; and the Americans With Disabilities Act Series 1006.
ARVC formed an NFPA 1194 committee earlier this year and is developing a series of proposed changes in the next revision cycle that will address Americans With Disabilities Act requirements for campsites; evictions and ejections; lengths of stays; as well as zoning and taxation issues involving park model RVs.
ARVC is focusing its attention on NFPA 1194 because that is the nationally recognized standard that the association uses when it works with state and local governments involving proposed regulations.
“By taking a proactive role in developing new industry standards, ARVC can get ahead of the legal curve and provide a framework that can guide legislators and regulators moving forward,” said Jeff Sims, ARVC’s director of state relations and program advocacy, in a written announcement.
“Since new regulations and laws are made by officials who often have little or no knowledge of the campground business, it behooves us to develop our own positions on a number of topics and to share these position statements with the state and federal agencies and legislative bodies,” Sims said.
Sims cautioned, however, that just because ARVC is asserting the private park industry’s positions doesn’t mean that every ARVC recommendation will be incorporated into the NFPA code.
“This is a very extensive process,” he said, adding that the closing date for NFPA public input is Jan. 5. The final updates to the code are expected to be completed in 2017.
While ARVC is continuing to refine its positions on a number of topics, the association is also working with the U.S. Access Board “to achieve regulations that are reasonable and attainable by the private RV park and campground industry to meet the needs of all guests,” Sims said.
ARVC also supports legislative and regulatory action to enable park operators to meter electricity at individual campsites. While park operators are not public utilities and do not resell electricity, ARVC believes that park owners should be able to recoup the actual costs of electricity by their guests.
“Some campers may use a small amount of electricity and others may use a substantial amount,” Sims said. “Submetering addresses this issue by enabling RV park and campground owners to allocate electricity to their guests according to their actual usage as opposed to applying a flat fee to everyone, which discourages the conservation of electricity.”
ARVC’s NFPA 1194 Committee includes Garry Cole of Shelby (Ohio)/Mansfield Kampgrounds of America (KOA); Wade Elliott, president of Utility Supply Group in Kingston, Wash.; Mark B. Hazelbaker of Kasieta Legal Group LLC in Madison, Wis.; Pat Hittmeier, president of KOA in Billings, Mont.; Michael Hobby of Moon Landing RV Park and Marina in Cross Hill, S.C.; Rob Schutter, president and COO of Leisure Systems Inc. in Milford, Ohio; and Sims.
Comments involving NFPA 1194 and other regulatory or legislative issues involving private parks should be sent to Sims at email@example.com. ARVC members can obtain a copy of NFPA 1194 from the online store at www.arvc.org at a members-only discounted price of $27.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) recognized the achievements of top private park operators, state associations and industry volunteers last week during its annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo in Knoxville, Tenn.
According to a press release, Park of the Year awards were given to RV parks and resorts based on several criteria, including customer service, employee training, operational excellence, national directory ratings and community service.
• Small Park of the Year: Big Meadow Family Campground, Townsend, Tenn.
• Medium Park of the Year: Shelby/Mansfield KOA, Shelby, Ohio.
• Large Park of the Year: Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve & Campground, Santee, Calif.
• Mega Park of the Year: Sun-N-Fun RV Resort, Sarasota, Fla.
Parks that made exemplary efforts to become environmentally friendly received ARVC’s Plan-It-Green award. The winners included:
• Big Creek RV Park in Annapolis, Mo., which received the award in the small / medium size park category.
• Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve & Campground, Santee, Calif.
Marketing awards were presented to state campground associations that produced the best statewide campground directories. Marketing award recipients included:
• Small State Association category: Maryland Association of Campgrounds.
• Medium State Association category: Ohio Campground Owners Association.
• Large State Association category: California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
Top-performing state campground association executives were also recognized, including:
• State Executive Director of the Year: Beverly Gruber from the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association.
• State President of the Year: Karl Littman of the Virginia Campground Association.
David L. Berg of Red Apple Campground in Kennebunkport, Maine, received the Stan Martin Memorial Award, which recognizes RV park and resort operators who serve as role models for their peers in the industry through their exceptional volunteerism. Berg also received the Chairman’s Award, which recognizes those who go beyond the call of duty to further the outdoor hospitality industry.
David Tetrault of the Northeast Campground Association received the Pioneer Award, which recognizes campground industry pioneers.
The Supplier of the Year award was given to Wade Elliott of Kingston, Wash.-based Utility Supply Group, a leading provider of electrical pedestals, meters, hand driers and other electrical supplies for campgrounds and RV parks.
During the awards ceremony, ARVC also announced the establishment of the Dick Hartford Memorial Plant a Tree Program, which was established in honor of Dick Hartford, the founder of Evergreen USA, who passed away in early October at the age of 68.
Hartford formed Evergreen in the 1980s, when campgrounds found it very difficult to obtain liability insurance. But Hartford joined forces with 25 campground owners and formed Evergreen as an insurance company owned by and for campgrounds. ARVC launched the Dick Hartford Memorial Plant a Tree Program by distributing more than 500 long leaf pines and Colorado Blue Spruce saplings to awards ceremony attendees.
The ARVC Foundation also presented its Above and Beyond Awards to Dick Hartford and to Judy LaPorta of Little Oaks Campground in Cape May Courthouse, N.J. LaPorta has spent a multitude of hours working during ARVC’s annual conferences, taking the lead in hosting the foundation information booth and supporting all of the foundation events.
As high profile wildfires burned public lands across the state of Colorado in June, Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), was busy putting out some fires of his own.
From his office in the Denver suburb of Centennial, Bambei couldn’t see any of those wildfires which captured media attention and prompted some well-timed damage control efforts from both ARVC and Camp Colorado, the state campground association. But he could feel the heat that some ARVC decisions – even one made before he joined the association as CEO late in 2010 – were creating.
In particular, Bambei had what he called a serious discussion around Memorial Day with Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), over ARVC’s decision not to provide moderate financial support for Go RVing Coalition activities. Historically, that support ranged between $50,000 and $100,000 annually and was delivered by Bambei’s predecessor, Linda Profaizer, during RVIA’s Committee Week in June each year.
“The association (ARVC) felt it needed some recognition for the contribution and that was a way to get it rather than just sending in a check,” Profaizer explained to WCM. “For several years early on, ARVC members contributed more than dealers to the program,” although the campground sector has generally been lukewarm in its support of the RV-centric Go RVing marketing campaign because of its focus on recreational vehicles. There was a feeling for a period of years that the Go RVing advertising did not adequately reflect campground settings. It reflected RVs in neutral settings.
The last check presentation came in 2010 after which time the ARVC board voted to drop such support from the ARVC budget and leave funding up to individual member parks.
Starting in 2011 and continuing in 2012, member parks could send donations to the ARVC office and a single check was written to Go RVing, usually in June. That check totaled $6,000 in 2012, Bambei said. No check had yet been written for 2013 when Bambei was interviewed by Woodall’s Campground Management on June 27.
The absence of a moderate contribution from ARVC was addressed by the RVIA behind closed doors during RVIA’s Committee Week in early June in Washington, D.C. Ahead of that, an ARVC board member alerted Bambei to RVIA’s concern, and he called Coon.
Following is Bambei’s recollection of that discussion.
“I applaud what Go RVing has meant for our industry. Anything that stokes our industry and makes our industry more relevant to the consumer is something I am in favor of,” Bambei said. “And ARVC will always support it.”
But in explaining the board’s decision in 2010, Bambei said, “What they were trying to do was push the decision for funding for Go RVing to the members within ARVC who are the direct beneficiaries of it. They are encouraged to write a check and fund it if they see value. And if not, then they don’t.
“ARVC’s role is to promote the program, which we do on our website and we are the funnel that administers the funding that comes from our members back to RVIA. What got some of the RVIA folks a bit excited was that the funding levels have dropped.”
Bambei agreed the drop in financial support is “dramatic” but quickly added, “We make decisions each day on a much more limited budget. Ours (budget) is about one tenth of what RVIA’s is. It’s a completely different dynamic for us to be able to write a big check out of our pockets for something that is a branding investment that mostly RVIA gets a benefit from. The program is geared to people who are thinking about buying an RV. Does this program necessarily translate into somebody showing up at one of our member parks? You can argue both sides of that. As we track those leads, it is the members themselves who see it more than anyone else. If they’re not seeing that, they are not compelled to write a check.”
ARVC Still Supports Go RVing
“The important thing I want to stress is, we still support Go RVing. It’s just an individual business decision by each member whether they want to support it. ARVC as an organization supports it. Our Go Camping America website is the search engine for Go RVing. We didn’t ask for any contributions to redevelop GCA’s website when we were paying for that upgrade the past year. It’s reciprocal. It’s all for the common good.”
Reviewing his discussion with Coon, Bambei concluded, “We vowed to do a better job of communicating. Speaking for myself, I haven’t done a great job of that. I invited Richard to our conference in Knoxville in November and to our ARVC Business Forum (which meets during the conference). There are a lot of things we should be cross-channeling. We will try to do that more often and do a better job of it. What’s important is, we both awoke to a mutual concern. He told me he would take our discussion back to his board and he said they wouldn’t be happy. I said I understood that. I’m just sorry it didn’t get clearly communicated back to them.”
Coon, for his part, acknowledges that he has worked to build a better dialogue recently between the recreational vehicle industry and the campground sector in the hope that the entire industry can more closely work together – something that’s never really occurred in the past. “Look, RVIA has been working over the last couple of years to build more unity with the industry, not just our sales,” Coon said.
Coon says it’s consistent with other initiatives RVIA has undertaken over the past two or three years in its effort to better unify the industry. “We've done a good job in the areas of bringing Canadian people with us so we understand the Canadian market and their needs,” he added. “We've done a good job bringing the park model people back to the association, which are a big part of the industry. But one of the elements that is missing in the big picture is the campground industry, which we haven't had a lot of communication with in the past.”
'Superior Quality Parks' Issue
Meanwhile, Bambei and ARVC did some backpedaling on a decision announced earlier this year that ARVC would assign a designation of “Superior Quality Parks” to any ARVC member park where the owners, managers or other key employees had completed certain certificates in the new Outdoor Hospitality Education Program (OHEP).
“The original designation was meant to acknowledge a park’s commitment to education and improvement through their staff,” Bambei told WCM. “We don’t want to rate parks on anything else. We leave that to others. I don’t want to be the one with white gloves that determines whether a bathroom is clean. But we have a new education program that is being heralded by the people who use it and understand it. We want to recognize parks that try to improve through that program.”
Former ARVC president David Gorin took ARVC to task when he heard about the new designation. His viewpoint appeared in his In Sites column in the June issue of WCM.
By the time that column appeared, Gorin and Bambei had already spoken and Bambei agreed the precise designation could be amended.
ARVC subsequently renamed the designation “Superior Quality Staff.”
“We have communicated the change to all the state executives, to our board, the ARVC Foundation and to all our members. Everybody seems to be satisfied,” Bambei said.
Editor's Note: The following information was provided by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) as a service to its members as well as nonmembers.
Did you know that your park is legally liable to pay royalties on any music that you play? That includes digital music services, Muzak, satellite radio and TV, cable, on hold music, DJs, live performers, karaoke and even your personal CDs, if you play them in public.
ARVC has negotiated a one-of-a-kind combined music licensing agreement available exclusively to ARVC members. This single annual license combines the benefit of coverage for both ASCAP and BMI at a drastically reduced rate.
ASCAP and BMI represent the vast majority of artists, with over a million songwriters, publishers and performers who produce every type of music. By taking advantage of this combined license, park owners can now play virtually all the music you want from any artist they represent, all year long, worry free. Monthly SESAC licenses are also available at a discounted rate, in addition to the combined license, for added coverage.
Here are a few common questions park owners may have:
Why does a “Park” have to pay an annual music-licensing fee?
The fee is to pay for a license that permits the park to have music performed on its premises, whether it is performed live, through recorded music over CDs, DVDs and cassettes or by music on-hold. Under copyright law, anybody who makes music available to the public needs permission prior to performing that music. Without a license, a park that allows music to be performed at its facilities commits a violation of federal copyright law.
What is a public performance?
A public performance is one that occurs either in a public place or any place where people gather (other than a small circle of a family or its social acquaintances). A public performance is also one that is transmitted to the public, for example, radio or television broadcasts, music-on-hold, cable television and by the Internet.
Why do I need a license from three different companies?
Each of these organizations, or PROs, represents different songwriters, composers, publishers and copyright holders, so to be fully protected, you need to be licensed by all three.
What is covered by a license?
The license covers copyrighted music played, or performed, for the public. That includes digital music services, Muzak, satellite radio and TV, cable, on hold music, DJs, live performers, karaoke and even your personal CDs. A license gives you legal authorization to play copyrighted music for the public and protects you from the financial penalties of copyright infringement.
Does the ARVC Music License specifically exclude any types of performances?
Yes. Additional licensing fees may apply for events for which a hard ticket from an outside source is required for admission, any event which requires a separate admission fee of $25 or higher or if your park incurs annual live entertainment expenses in excess of $5,000.
Aren't TV, cable and radio stations already licensed?
Yes, they are. However, those agreements do not authorize the broadcast of these TV, cable and radio stations to the public by businesses and other organizations.
What if we already own our own collection of music CDs?
The purchase price that you paid for the CDs covers only your use of them for private listening. Once you decide to play any copyrighted music publicly, you need permission from the copyright owners.
If we have live performances at our park, are the musicians responsible for being licensed?
No, some people mistakenly assume musicians, entertainers or even DJs must obtain licenses to perform. Since it's your business that's benefiting from the performance of music, park management is responsible for ensuring that the organization is properly licensed. This responsibility cannot be passed on to anyone else, even if the musicians hired are independent contractors.
How do I sign up for the ARVC Music Licensing Program?
The ARVC music-licensing program is only available to ARVC members. If you are not an ARVC member, go to arvc.org/join or call the office at (303) 681-0401. If you are an ARVC member, go to arvc.org/music-licensing and sign in with your ARVC ID and password. The open enrollment period for 2014 music licensing is from July 1, 2013, to Nov. 30, 2013. No late enrollments will be accepted.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has launched a member benefit program with New Holland Agriculture that can save park operators up to 40% on purchases of tractors, backhoes and other utility vehicles, according to an ARVC announcement.
“ARVC membership can now save park operators thousands of dollars whenever they purchase a tractor, backhoe or other type of maintenance or materials handling vehicle from New Holland,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO.
ARVC created the new member benefit program with New Holland in direct response to feedback the association has received from members who have lauded the performance and reliability of New Holland equipment.
Based in New Holland, Pa., New Holland Agriculture sells agricultural tractors, compact tractors, attachments and loaders for compact tractors, backhoes, Rustler utility vehicles as well as skid steers and materials handling equipment.
To receive special pricing, ARVC members are encouraged to notify their New Holland dealer and indicate that they are an ARVC member and are eligible for a major account discount.
Based in Denver, Colo., ARVC is the only national trade association exclusively representing the interests of privately-owned RV parks, resorts and campgrounds. Membership is comprised of RV park and campground owners and operators, industry suppliers, franchisers and others committed to promoting the growth and welfare of the RV park and campground sector of the outdoor hospitality industry through development and implementation of legislative, regulatory, educational and promotional programs and activities. ARVC is a not-for-profit 501(c)6 organization. Visit www.arvc.org for more information.
Members of the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) have until July 15 to take advantage of early bird registration prices for ARVC's ARVC’s Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo Nov. 5-8 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Early-bird registrants pay just $399. Members ordinarily pay $499, and $599 if they register late. Nonmembers pay $699 during the regular signup and $799 if they register late; there is no early-bird registration for nonmembers.
Click here to register for the event.