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Old 12-10-2007, 06:20 AM   #1
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Quote:
RVIA Ups Travel Trailer Square-Footage Limit
Bob Ashley
RV Business
Monday, December 10, 2007

Opposition from the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) has derailed, at least temporarily, efforts by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) to change federal law to allow fifth-wheels to be larger than 400 square feet.

"I don't anticipate the fifth-wheel initiative to go anywhere any time soon," said Matt Wald, RVIA director of government affairs. "(RPTIA Executive Director) Bill Garpow did an excellent job of scuttling anything we tried to do."

Meanwhile, the RVIA board during a Nov. 14 conference call, gave travel trailer manufacturers permission effective Jan. 1 to increase the maximum size of their units from 320 to 400 square feet, which will put them on par with fifth-wheels.

Units beyond 400 square feet, by federal law, are legally considered to be manufactured homes and required to meet standards set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is that designation that the RVIA board voted in February to seek to change with regard to fifth-wheels.

Garpow, whose association is comprised of manufacturers of "park model" trailers that are limited to 400 square feet, was the proposal's most vocal critic. Opposition, though, also was expressed by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) and the California Travel Parks Association (CPTA, renamed California ARVC as of the first of the year). Garpow contended that allowing fifth-wheels to be larger than that limit would cause regulatory havoc in localities throughout the country.

Wald said the RPTIA opposition created uncertainty in Congress that led to the initiative's demise. "People said the safest thing for them to do was nothing," Wald explained. "It is easier to kill a bill than it is to pass one."

Wald left the door open for RVIA to relaunch the initiative to get a new federal law for fifth-wheels "next year." "Obviously if RPTIA continues to oppose us, it could take longer," Wald said.

RVIA's board has the ability to override the ANSI standard for travel trailers because "the way we are structured, we follow standards as adopted by our board of directors," said Bruce Hopkins, RVIA vice president of standards and education.

Although law allows towable RVs to be up to 400 square feet in setup mode, travel trailers have been restricted to 320 square feet by an ANSI standard that hasn't been changed since 1987. "At the time, the board thought 320 square feet was a good break-off point because of the towing capacity of vehicles at that time," Hopkins said.

With the proliferation of SURVs and lighter pickup trucks, that distinction no longer is valid, Hopkins said. "People are asking for larger units and manufacturers believe there is a market," he said. "The federal government allows them to go to 400 square feet, so why shouldn't we allow them to make travel trailers larger than 320 square feet."

Although Garpow was pleased that RVIA abandoned the fifth-wheel initiative, he contended that the RVIA board's action concerning travel trailers actually makes them park trailers. "They will be 8 1/2 feet wide and between 320 and 400 square feet," Garpow told RVBusiness. "That is the definition of a park trailer. They are applying two standards to the same product. It doesn't make any sense."

With the question of larger fifth-wheels moot for now, however, apparently all is not clear sailing for travel trailers.

Hopkins said laws in 16 states will be in conflict with RVIA board's 400-square-foot edict because they tie allowable square feet to the ANSI standard. That will take at least until 2011 to change to reflect 400 square feet. Wald said RVIA this winter will attempt to get the law changed in most of those states.
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Old 12-10-2007, 06:20 AM   #2
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">RVIA Ups Travel Trailer Square-Footage Limit
Bob Ashley
RV Business
Monday, December 10, 2007

Opposition from the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) has derailed, at least temporarily, efforts by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) to change federal law to allow fifth-wheels to be larger than 400 square feet.

"I don't anticipate the fifth-wheel initiative to go anywhere any time soon," said Matt Wald, RVIA director of government affairs. "(RPTIA Executive Director) Bill Garpow did an excellent job of scuttling anything we tried to do."

Meanwhile, the RVIA board during a Nov. 14 conference call, gave travel trailer manufacturers permission effective Jan. 1 to increase the maximum size of their units from 320 to 400 square feet, which will put them on par with fifth-wheels.

Units beyond 400 square feet, by federal law, are legally considered to be manufactured homes and required to meet standards set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is that designation that the RVIA board voted in February to seek to change with regard to fifth-wheels.

Garpow, whose association is comprised of manufacturers of "park model" trailers that are limited to 400 square feet, was the proposal's most vocal critic. Opposition, though, also was expressed by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) and the California Travel Parks Association (CPTA, renamed California ARVC as of the first of the year). Garpow contended that allowing fifth-wheels to be larger than that limit would cause regulatory havoc in localities throughout the country.

Wald said the RPTIA opposition created uncertainty in Congress that led to the initiative's demise. "People said the safest thing for them to do was nothing," Wald explained. "It is easier to kill a bill than it is to pass one."

Wald left the door open for RVIA to relaunch the initiative to get a new federal law for fifth-wheels "next year." "Obviously if RPTIA continues to oppose us, it could take longer," Wald said.

RVIA's board has the ability to override the ANSI standard for travel trailers because "the way we are structured, we follow standards as adopted by our board of directors," said Bruce Hopkins, RVIA vice president of standards and education.

Although law allows towable RVs to be up to 400 square feet in setup mode, travel trailers have been restricted to 320 square feet by an ANSI standard that hasn't been changed since 1987. "At the time, the board thought 320 square feet was a good break-off point because of the towing capacity of vehicles at that time," Hopkins said.

With the proliferation of SURVs and lighter pickup trucks, that distinction no longer is valid, Hopkins said. "People are asking for larger units and manufacturers believe there is a market," he said. "The federal government allows them to go to 400 square feet, so why shouldn't we allow them to make travel trailers larger than 320 square feet."

Although Garpow was pleased that RVIA abandoned the fifth-wheel initiative, he contended that the RVIA board's action concerning travel trailers actually makes them park trailers. "They will be 8 1/2 feet wide and between 320 and 400 square feet," Garpow told RVBusiness. "That is the definition of a park trailer. They are applying two standards to the same product. It doesn't make any sense."

With the question of larger fifth-wheels moot for now, however, apparently all is not clear sailing for travel trailers.

Hopkins said laws in 16 states will be in conflict with RVIA board's 400-square-foot edict because they tie allowable square feet to the ANSI standard. That will take at least until 2011 to change to reflect 400 square feet. Wald said RVIA this winter will attempt to get the law changed in most of those states.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>
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