Wheelhaus Wedge Is A Different Kind of Park Model Home
There is a famous resort in California wine country that was built on a trailer park, out of the kind of structures that go in trailer parks, called Recreational Park Trailers, or RPTs. Except you are not allowed to mention that they are trailers; it is a high end, expensive resort and they don't want anyone to know that they are staying in, gasp, trailers!
There is still a stigma in the word; that is why Wheelhaus' new line is so interesting, they are brave and open enough to call their product "the next generation of RPTs". They are designed to go into a new breed of trailer parks that are well designed, greener, and attract a different audience. The green RV park is a great model for significantly increasing density, sharing resources and common facilities and costs, while owning only the 400 square feet of RPT. It makes tremendous sense.
Wheelhaus president Jamie Mackay describes his idea:
Evolve the concept of traditional “Recreational Park Trailers” (RPTs) with innovative design, a focus on space management, new standards of RPT quality, and a passion for sustainable building techniques.
The unit size is limited by the regulations to 400 square feet, but when laid out as a one bedroom, that is quite spacious. The ceilings and exterior are made from recycled Wyoming snow fencing.
An advantage of building to a standard like that of the RPT is that it can go into any park without special building permit approvals.
They are built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels and have a gross trailer area not exceeding 400 square feet in the set-up mode. Each Park Trailer is certified by the RPTIA member manufacturer as complying with ANSI Standard A119.5. In addition to certification by RPTIA, RPT’s host Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN). As RPT’s are defined as recreational vehicles, they are considered a similar use at campgrounds and RV Parks. This is a great benefit, as a certified RPT with a VIN may be towed to a campground and parked – no questions asked!
But, being essentially recreational vehicles, their use is often restricted by zoning, so you can't buy one and stick it on a city lot or in a backyard and use it as a house. For just as zoning regulations affect urban form, they also affect built form and segregate different housing types into different zones. Small, efficient and affordable trailers usually have to be somewhere else.
But finally this is changing. The Fireside Resort at Jackson Hole is a good example of an old campground upgraded with Wheelhaus RPTs. All over North America, there are parks that are in trouble as their user base gets older and their 40 year old trailers fall apart. Some are in wonderful locations; most are getting bought and rezoned for big single family second homes, accommodating perhaps a tenth of the number of people that it did before and shutting out the middle class. But this could be the future of the tiny house movement, where small units are actually legal and welcome, and where there are common shared resources that compensate for living in such a small space. More at Wheelhaus/, found on Kent Griswold's Tiny House Blog