RV/Camper crackdown by the city

Reaching out to see if anyone else has dealt with this -
I recently found out the city is having their attorney look into prohibiting me from leasing to RVers / campers. I’ve had a good relationship with the city having cleaned up the park from a F to a C rated park over my three years of ownership. The county office people have complemented me on the cleanup too. This is a small town so I think this is more “opinion” from the city than legal standing. I have a minimum of three months lease, but most RVers / Campers stay for much longer. They have been a well paying/behaved group. I’d like to find out if there is a legal precedent? is it by state or county? The park is in Iowa, several Mobile Parks I know of here allow RVers and campers and have for years now. The park was built in 1961 so is a ‘grandfathered’ use legal standing? City ordinances were slim to none at that time. Thanks for any help.

I would immediately look up the zoning of your park, and what is allowed by that zoning.

It may be your park is zoned mobile home park (or was when constructed) and that zoning does not allow for RVs.

My first line of defense would be to contact the city, and let them know that RVs create additional income for improvements and upgrades to the park, and it will be difficult to maintain the property to the same level without RVs. I would also try to find out what instigated them to suddenly start pushing back on this.

I have a bunch of empty lots in an area with high RV demand, and I may have a similar run in with the city at some point.

Thanks for your response. It’s multi family mobile home use. However, it started as a camp ground for roadway construction workers.I think two items are driving this new found concern by the city - a new residential neighbor whose property boarders mine. That neighbor has also complained about an adjacent small business parking lot’s traffic according to the owner. Demanding that owner to install a privacy fence. The other issue is this- The public works people sometimes develop ‘rules’ that are just opinion and get caught up in their authority. They were adamant I could not sub-meter and pass on cost for utilities when in fact it was legal to do so for several years prior. I did my homework on that issue and was prepared -having shut down that opinion as soon as it was raised. I’m not sure how this will play out, 90% of these units are campers, not much different than a mobile home except for a non removable hitch. Another version of the ‘tiny home’ use. I’ve got young couples saving hundreds of dollars a month VS renting a $1000 month two bedroom apartment. It’s been great revenue with little cost to add a 50amp electric plug in. As you suggested I’ll be contacting the city on Monday with a prepared plan.

State of Washington has a law that forbids cities from excluding rv’s from mobile home parks. So check your State law… you never know. The cities have no idea what is going on half the time… they just cut and paste regulations from other cities without checking State law. It was awesome sitting with my dad as her schooled a local municipality on state law.

The only way they could restrict RVs would be to prove that restriction was part of the original permit for the park – unlikely since mobile homes and RVs were the same thing back in the day. But although you are probably right, do you really want to go to court? I’d call in a municipal lawyer to get a handle on the city’s true intent and try to settle it amicably.

Check and see what is on the books to deterring if they have a case against RVs. Once you know the ordinances you will then know what is allowed. The fact that in the past the city may have turned a blind eye is irrelevant. If the ordinances state “mobile homes” and they are now enforcing no RVs then you have no argument to support them allowing you to have RVs. You may have been in violation without knowing.