This year over 2500 bills were introduced to the California legislature. More than we have seen in decades.
Historically, RV parks and campgrounds tend to fly under the radar avoiding some of those bills that wreak havoc on our counterparts, in the mobile home space however as more RV parks are moving to an extended stay model our industry is now suddenly being included in everything from Narcan dispensing, fee transparency, rent control, affordable housing bills and even updating the Special Occupancy Parks Act.
As the state looks to “solve” the problem of not enough camping sites, brought about by its own inability to deal with state park registration issues, they have looked to RV parks for a solution but what they see is parks filled with long term residents. Without context, independent RV parks have taken on the look of affordable housing but what isn’t seen is that parks provide a service to the community. They house teachers for a season, line workers bringing new power, traveling nurses, and even state legislators.
To a politician looking to expand travel and tourism it would appear that RV parks are not a reasonable option stating that “tourists do not want to vacation where others live”. So, they are removing our transient business for what they believe is a more suitable experience for the out of state traveler.
While on the other end of the bookshelf, legislators are forcing RV parks into full time affordable housing completely disregarding our travel and tourism segment. They see our industry as a solution to the housing crisis and perhaps even the homeless crisis. Little understanding is given to the “intent” by which a traveler chooses to stay at a park, and they are blissfully ignorant to the role RV parks play in supporting travel and tourism during the winter months when our parks fill with snowbirds.
Between opposing legislation, RV parks are being bookended into a death spiral and it won’t stop here. When the unintended consequences start rolling in new legislation will be introduced to correct the inaccuracies of the bills on the table today. SOPA is on the table and if we don’t get involved with the process the legislators will do it for us.
As an industry we must take a stand. It is time to encourage those parks that are not members to join us in support. It is time for you as members to get involved. And it is time to hold your board of directors accountable.
We need to stop the spiral before it is too late.
See you on the road.
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