Bulow RV Resort residents seek county's help as management pushes to evict them

The RV Resort has told residents who have unpermitted permanent structures, and haven't removed them as ordered, to tear them down and leave.

The Bulow RV Resort pool. Image from Google Maps
The Bulow RV Resort pool. Image from Google Maps
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For over a year, the Flagler County government has warned the Bulow RV Resort that "permanent structures" on residents' lots are a code violation. Now, the RV park's management is ordering residents to remove those structures, and the residents are pleading with the county government to stop the park from forcing them out.

"We will have to pay thousands of dollars to get our homes torn down and hauled away and lose every dime we used to buy our homes," one resident told county commissioners during the public comment period of a Sept. 18 commission meeting. "There has to be some kind of moral responsibility" when displacing longtime residents, she added.

County commissioners expressed sympathy for the residents and said they wanted to gather more information.

"I think it's it's critically important that we try to ... do what we can to assist," County Commissioner Andy Dance said. "... If the code enforcement action is what's instigating this, then if we give time and put that off until after the new year or something, we can maybe have further discussions with the owner on how to rectify their situation."

A Bulow RV Resort lease shown to the Observer states that residents may occupy the park for only up to six months out of the year. "This Resort shall not be your permanent residence," the lease states. Still, it became just that for some locals who have lived there continuously for years and now don't know where they could go next if they're forced to leave.

Bulow RV Resort spokeswoman Jennifer Ludovice wrote in a written statement emailed to the Observer that county government staff notified the RV Resort in the fall of 2022 that some lot sites were in violation of county code.

The resort's management contacted the "guests" at those sites on Nov. 18, 2022, she said, and told them that their sites must be brought into compliance with county code within 30 days. 

"Since that time, we have repeatedly followed up with guests who have not brought their sites into compliance with the county’s requirements, informing them that if sites are not brought into compliance, we will be unable to renew the guest’s lease," Ludovice wrote. "After allowing nearly 10 months to bring their sites into compliance, on Aug. 31, 2023, we notified certain guests whose sites remain noncompliant that their lease would not be renewed upon expiration on Oct. 1, 2023." 

She added, "We appreciate the efforts of those guests who worked over the last 10 months to bring their sites into compliance and regret that it has become necessary to not renew the leases of those who would not make the required alterations to become compliant with county regulations."

One resort resident speaking at the County Commission meeting confirmed that timeline, saying that she and others had been notified last November and then received a 30-day eviction notice on Aug. 31 telling them that saying they must tear the structures down and vacate by Oct. 1, 2023. 

The three residents who spoke to commissioners said they can't move their homes on that timeline. 

"I'm asking you for your help and your assistance in at least giving us additional time," one resident said. "I have an RV park model. I can't just hook it up to a truck. ... There's logistics. I have to hire an electrician to disconnect the electric. I have to hire a plumber. I have to hire a transportation company to move this property off 'their dirt,' as the attorney referred to it as. That takes time."

One resident said the he'd bought his  trailer from Bulow with the permanent structures attached.

"I bought a trailer, a park model, from Bulow, from the corporation, with additions, porches, everything there — and now they want to throw me out," he said. "I have no money. I have nowhere to go. I'm on oxygen. ... What do we do? Do I get to be homeless? We all get to be homeless now? Is that what our county wants for us?"

The Bulow RV Resort's written statement did not answer the Observer's question about whether trailers had been sold to lot lessees with permanent structures already in place.

County Commissioner David Sullivan asked Sean Moylan, the deputy county attorney, about the county government's communications with Bulow RV Resort about the code violation case. 

Moylan said the county began code cases against the park landowner last because of concerns about safety.

"There were too many structures too close together, and it becomes a fire hazard," Moylan said. "They asked for additional time — I believe it was till October — and I suppose that's why it's coming to a head."

The county hasn't heard much since then from the property owner, and has just been waiting to see if the owner has brought the park into compliance, Moylan said. 

"Certainly we have nothing to do with non-renewing of leases," Moylan said. "... The county is has no role in that or jurisdiction — would never ask them to do such a thing."

Commissioner David Sullivan said he wanted to be cautious about making statements. But, he said, "It just seems like a terrible situation. We don't want people thrown out of their houses."

Commissioner Leann Pennington implored the county administration to work with the RV Resort's management to find a solution for the residents. 

"We summoned the wind, and now they're reaping the whirlwind of it," she said. "So I would, I would hope that for your [residents'] benefit, that things are resolved amicably, and I feel horrible that you're facing this at this time."

Moylan said the county administration was "never out to punish anybody" and had reached out to the landowner that afternoon to start a conversation. 

"We just want to make sure that the structures are not in a dangerous position," Moylan said. "... Certainly we will ask them to please not throw people on the street because of this."


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