Long term Bulow Plantation Residents May be Forced to Move

When is a mobile home not a mobile home? When it’s in the Bulow Plantation RV park.

March 13, 2007 – Flagler County Planning Board members now realize what it feels like to be a Christian Scientist with appendicitis. They were faced last night with a no win situation when the owners of Bulow Plantation filed for an amendment to the Bulow Plantation PUD. The request was simple enough – amend the PUD language to bring it clearly into conformance with Florida statute and Flagler County code language. But as the layers of the factual onion were peeled away exposing years of alleged deceit by successive Bulow Plantation owners, regulatory neglect by the County, and code ignorance by residents, a situation as odorous as the onion itself was revealed.

What began in the 1950’s as a KOA Campground on the east side of Old Kings Road South, evolved over the years and through several different owners into something other than the originally intended camp ground. The 46 acres affected are zoned as a commercial campground for up to 350 sites. Under Florida statutes and Flagler County code, use is restricted to temporary use. Park model (Travel trailers), RVs, tents, etc. are permitted for a limited time period. Permanently installed mobile homes are not allowed. The idea behind the laws is that park models can be easily moved out of harm’s way in event of an impending storm while mobile homes cannot. Therefore such things as long term residence and attached structures are prohibited with park models.
Over many years, but since the original zoning ordinance in the early 80’s, many people installed park models for permanent use. Some residents have lived in the park for over 15 years. They own their trailers but not the land. The land has been rented on a periodic basis, up to one year. Several residents have installed add-on rooms, porches, decks, car ports, and utility sheds – all in violation of county building codes. Park owners were complicit in these actions, often helping measure and plan the modifications. Of the 30 or so residents that attended the meeting, all were elderly. Many spoke of living on limited incomes. One resident questioned the sincerity of the owners desire to upgrade stating that the only recent upgrade was a replacement of the blue tarp on the leaking office roof with a black tarp.
The park owner’s representative stated that they want to clean up the park. Get rid of the old trailers and install new park model trailers on some of the sites. These would be rented for not longer than 183 days, no renewals. They will allow present residents to stay through the term of their existing use agreement, after which they would have to remove their trailers. The Planning Board was presented with an amendment which simply clarified the PUD language. County staff recommended approval by the board. Neither the PUD amendment language nor the Planning Board’s recommendation to County Council will affect residents’ fate. Whether or not the amendment is ultimately approved by County Council, the park owners plan to proceed with their plan to evict residents.
Over a dozen park residents rose to address the council. Park owners chose not to speak. The following facts were generally not in dispute:
  • All use agreements with residents were for a fixed period of time.
  • Park owners erred in allowing residents to renew agreements.
  • Park owners sold many of the travel trailers to residents and, along with residents, were complicit in subsequent code violations.
  • Legally, residents should not have expected any guarantee of extensions, however many have been allowed to renew continuously for several years.
  • Uprooting and moving will be expensive and traumatic for residents.
  • Codes forbidding long term renewals and attached structures were blatantly ignored over a protracted period of time.
  • County code enforcement was lax or non-existent until recently. The code violations helped trigger the PUD amendment application, thus exposing the present conundrum.
Since the Planning Board action is only a recommendation to County Council and not a decision, and because the several park residents in attendance at the meeting were obviously in a distressed state, the board opted to decline the petitioner’s request. As a side note, they advised the park residents to seek assistance from an attorney and public agencies, including the Council on Aging. The amendment request will come before the County Council with a Planning Board recommendation to decline the amendment.
7 replies
  1. H Gordon
    H Gordon says:

    Nothing New

    Couldn\\’t help but wonder while reading this article if there\\’s some megabuck land developer behind this \\\”discovery\\\” of code violations… doing what he does best to wheel some big land deal at the expense of the locals. Nothing new…

  2. S Wright
    S Wright says:


    It was written: \”The idea behind the laws is that park models can be easily moved out of harm’s way in event of an impending storm while mobile homes cannot. Therefore such things as long term residence and attached structures are prohibited with park models.\”

    Curious – Park Models have their wheels removed, the tow hitch removed, are placed up on supports per code, as well as many other code installation requirements, and naturally would require a good sized tow vehicle be available. These same conditions apply to Mobile Homes.

    I see many other discrepancies in the article. \”Several residents have installed add-on rooms, porches, decks, car ports, and utility sheds – all in violation of county building codes.\” One of the recent additions (nearly all existing car ports, additons, etc. are non-permanent) has an approved buiding permit issued by Flagler County. Again, curious.

    I could go on….. Seems like there needs to be a review of all codes – both state and county as being grossly out of date with today’s needs and standards.

  3. linda seem
    linda seem says:

    almost taken in

    been at plantation several times was going to buy a park model but decided to wait. iam glad i did not. now my poor sister and her husband does live their and being ask to leave. state of florida regulations are shoving the old and low income out of their homeswhat next. say to the ownersthis is unfair and unjust.

  4. C.Dusseau
    C.Dusseau says:

    Inappropriate Analogy

    What an odd and inappropriate analogy to suggest the Commission was in a no win situation like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis. Where did that ever come from? With the healing work Christian Scientists have done for over a century, I don’t think they would consider any challenge a no win situation.

  5. Kim
    Kim says:


    I would hate to be a senior and faced with this mess. They purchased these mobile homes in good faith and the park owners over the years sold many of them. They knew what they were doing. Sounds like they have a better plan and this is a way of clearing the park out without taking blame! This is shameful! Many people were mislead and this never should have gone on for as long as it has to now do something about it! It should have been haulted from the beginning. These mobile homes are well maintained and these Seniors should be left alone. As stated previously, this I am sure is all about MONEY (GREED). Pick on someone else and don’t bend and break codes and rules to benefit and then squeek to benefit ones self. The time has long passed when something should have been done about this if it is in fact a concern or problem…now it NOT time.

  6. Bob
    Bob says:

    Not the First Time

    ELS (owner of Bulow Plantation RV Park) accepted a large deposit (thousands of dollars) from us on a permanent manufactured homesite in Bulow Plantation Lakeside, directly adjacent to Bulow Plantation RV Park. We wanted it to be our retirement home, and we planned to retire within two years. After about six months, we were notified that ELS had sold the entire Bulow Plantation Lakeside development (reportedly to Centex Homes), and we would get our deposit back (without any interest, of course). Very misleading, don’t you think? Left us out in the cold. So it’s no surprise that Bulow Plantation RV Park has had these problems over all these years.

    Oh, by the way, we’ve seen absolutely no activity by Centex Homes to build any homes there yet, and we’ve heard rumors that the land sales deal between ELS and Centex fell through. Anyone know anything about this?

  7. John Flynn
    John Flynn says:

    Home owner

    Its unfortunate that the R.V. park is going through this. I bought a home in Bulow and lease the land. I couldn’t be happier. Its amazing here. I bought a year ago and have seen a crazy increase in value / equity 1 year ago I purchased for around 18K The most expensive home was valued at 40K Now my home is worth 40k and the expensive homes are selling for over 80K. The people that live here are so nice. It doesn’t seem like a retirement community at all. I see young adults living here. People are healthy and smile a lot. It is just a pleasure. I would describe it as a southern life style. We dont have much diversity and I am happy about that. Quite frankly I have seen what happens to nice areas when people with lose upbringings move in, I have also seen the people that insist on 0 tolerance towards screening slowly see their property value and their happiness flat line. This life is relaxing and full of good manners.

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