The National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) 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 models 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, 2015.
“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, in a press release. “The regulatory change could also make park models subject to local property taxes.”
ARVC told state campground association executives in a conference call 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 Richard Coon and Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Phil Ingrassia in which they urged him 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.