The Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) is taking an tough stance against its member manufacturers that misuse the association’s seal.
Effective immediately, RPTIA might temporarily or permanently ban firms from association membership that are found to have deliberately misused the association’s seal, reports William Garpow, executive director of the Newnan, Ga.-based industry group.
The action, finalized Oct. 25 at RPTIA’s fall conference at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., was prompted by the discovery that some manufacturers had been affixing the association’s seal on bathhouses or on other units that didn’t meet recreational park trailer specifications. “Such actions destroy the integrity of the seal program if manufacturers misuse it or stretch the standards,” Garpow said.
The enforcement action was taken prior to RPTIA’s meeting with members of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) this month to secure their endorsement of uniform standards and definitions for recreational park trailers to be implemeted by state titling and registration officials across the country.
Recreational Park Trailers are towable trailers that occupy up to 400 square feet of space, including the exterior of the trailer. They overlap slightly with conventional travel trailers, which can reach 320 square feet, and more so with fifth-wheels, which can go all the way up to 400 square feet. But recreational park trailers are generally wider, with 60 percent of them being 11.5 feet to 12 feet wide. Recreational park trailers also do not usually have holding tanks because they are typically directly connected to water, sewer, and electrical and other required utilities once they reach their destinations.
Several states across the country do not use the term “recreational park trailer” in their regulations, which can create a host of zoning and taxation challenges for recreational park trailer owners, who could find themselves facing the same kinds of taxation and zoning requirements applied to manufactured housing. If AAMVA accepts a standard definition of park trailers, Garpow said, it will pave the way for member states to adopt similar definitions and reduce the regulatory confusion currently faced by recreational park trailer owners, parks, zoning and taxation officials in a number of states.
RPTIA, meanwhile, is working to broaden the definition of recreational park trailers found in the National Safety Standard to include structures that do not have bathrooms or kitchens. The change is needed to accommodate campground owners who want to use park trailers as rental units in concert with their existing bathhouses, Garpow said. The new product could also become a consumer-owned entry-level product designed for placement and use on leased sites in RV parks with bathhouses.
RPTIA is proposing this change to the ANSI A119.5 Canvass Committee, but Garpow said he could not speculate whether or not that independent committee would accept the proposed change. As to when the next edition of the ANSI Standard is anticipated, Garpow s00tated it would probably be sometime in 2003.
Meanwhile, the RPTIA will continue to focus much of its efforts on marketing and regulatory issues. Early next year, the association plans to implement a tenfold expansion of its website content to provide relevant information to potential owners, industry members, media, and government officials. The association also plans to step up its efforts to secure the interest of additional lenders in providing consumer loans for recreational park trailers.
On the regulatory front, RPTIA is also working to establish an “Industry Recommended Practice” that will provide guidance for the proper installation of a ecreational park trailer. The publication will address the technical specifics required to properly tie-down and set up recreational park trailers upon their arrival at long-term destinations.
In other action, the RPTIA board installed its officers for 2003, including: president, Robert Kropf, Kropf Industries, Inc., Goshen, Ind.; vice president, Olin Wenrick, Trophy Homes, Inc., Elkhart, Ind.; secretary, Stuart Holaway, Dutch Park Homes, Inc., Goshen; treasurer, Ernie Yoder, Woodland Park, Inc., Middlebury, Ind.; and immediate past president, Tim Howard, Breckenridge Division of Damon Corp., Nappanee, Ind. Also installed for three-year terms on the board were Ted Huff, T.R. Arnold & Associates, Elkhart; and Dan Saltzgiver, Reichart’s Camping Center, Inc., Hanover, Pa.