Jeff Sims

Jeff Sims

Editor’s Note: The following is an article authored by Woodall’s Campground Management Editor Justin Leighty examining efforts to enact new legislature that would define park models as recreational vehicles instead of manufactured housing. WCM is a sister publication to RVBusiness. For the full story click here

Now that attempts failed to get the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to reverse a memo changing how HUD looks at park model RVs, leaders in the campground and RV industries are pinning their hopes on Congress to head off problems for RV parks and campgrounds across the U.S., and have made it easy for campground owners and operators to show their support

Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., who represent the neighboring districts in the heart of the RV industry in northern Indiana, introduced House Resolution 5658, the “Recreational Vehicle Certainty Act.”

Outdoor industry groups are pushing their members to reach out to Congressional representatives and voice support for the act, which would provide legal clarity that, among other things, porches on park model RVs don’t count against the 400-square-foot living space limit — as had been HUD’s view until last month.

“We’ve made quite a bit of progress,” said Jeff Sims, director of state relations and program advocacy for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). As of this week, Sims told Woodall’s Campground Management, 640 park had reached out to their representative and their senators. “They’ve sent out 2,103 messages and contacted 310 members of Congress,” Sims said.

ARVC has partnered with Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), as well as state associations that aren’t affiliated with ARVC, to get the word out. “The issue is far beyond affiliation,” Sims said.

In addition to campground groups, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and National RV Dealers Association (RVDA) are working together with ARVC on the issue, which has a huge impact, Sims said.

“You’re talking about nearly $145 million in potential lost revenue,” he said. Though HUD’s new standards will only be in effect from April on, that doesn’t prevent states or local governments from looking at existing park model RVs, popular rental options in RV parks and campgrounds, differently, Sims said.

“What do you do when it’s no longer classified an RV and it certainly can’t be classified as manufactured housing because it’s not constructed to those standards? You’ve got an investment there, overall the average investment is $21,000 per park. We’re small businesses. What do you do with that unit?

“A lot of business licenses don’t allow anything other than recreational vehicles. Are they now in noncompliance with their business licenses? Will it have to be revmoved? Will it have to be condemned? Will it have to be renovated to new codes? I don’t have the answers to that,” Sims said. “When it comes to the local jurisdictions, there will be additional interpretations,” Sims told WCM.

To read the full story click here.