RV parking restrictions contemplated
Town council is looking to further restrict recreational vehicle (RV) parking in front yards throughout town.
During last Tuesday’s regular council meeting, council directed administration to draft a bylaw setting out where RVs can be parked in front yards and what type of surface they can be parked on.
“We felt if you’re going to park them in there, then we don’t want a safety issue and an unsightly mess,” said Mayor Brian Wittal of council’s decision to draft a new bylaw.
Community peace officer Derek Sutherland and Luana Smith, manager of legislative services, presented council with three options after reviewing results of a public survey on the issue conducted between Feb. 29 and April 16.
“The parking study confirmed something that we already knew: there are strong opinions on either side of the issue,” administration said in its report to council.
The majority of those surveyed thought that RV parking should be allowed on residential property, the report said.
However, it also pointed out that there were “a good number” of people that felt RV parking on residential property should be controlled.
About 26 per cent of people surveyed thought RV parking in a residential area detracts from the appearance of the area, the report stated.
And about 20 per cent of people surveyed thought that RV parking should be controlled on driveways and gravel pads.
However, the report noted, approximately 65 per cent of survey respondents thought there should be a limit on the number of RVs parked on a residential property and 77 per cent said that if an RV is parked in a front yard it should be parked on a driveway or pad.
Based on the survey results, adminstration recommended three options for council consideration.
The first was to create a bylaw that restricts RV parking to hard surface pads only (pavement/gravel/asphalt) with a restriction of two units allowed to be stored on the property for longer than a week.
The second option was to leave the laws as they are and the third was to create a law restricting the parking of RVs on residential property during certain times of the year, possibly with a restriction that the RV not protrude past the front of the house into the front yard.
Administration told council the first recommendation to restrict RVs to hard surface pads only made the most sense.
“It appeals to the majority of those surveyed and gives the municipal enforcement department the tools to deal with the more extreme cases that most people can agree
are not acceptable,” administration said in their report.
“It will be well received by most RV owners and the moderates in the against arguments.”
However, the report also pointed out that the option will not be acceptable to those residents that do not want any RV parking on residential property - only the most restrictive bylaw would and that may not be seen as fair to the majority of residents.
Wittal said council is looking into the issue because of complaints.
“We had an issue with one resident parking an RV between two houses,” Wittal said, adding the complainant was concerned his view was obstructed.
Many other people have also complained about their view being obstructed, largely related to RVs parked in front or side yards.
Comments on the survey captured this sentiment.
“No front yard parking,” one survey respondent wrote. “All RVs should be parked in the back yard. Side yard parking should be illegal; they are too close to houses. RVs parked in the front yard are obstructive and detract from the residential looks and possibly devalue surrounding property.
Others said front yard or side yard parking should be allowed with restrictions.
“Only if it is at the side of the house and as long as it isn’t interfering with a neighbour’s view. I don’t think you should be able to park six to eight units but two to three are OK especially if in the backyard,” wrote another.
There were also people who filled out the survey who were adamant that council shouldn’t be telling private property owners what they can and cannot do on their land.
“Mind your own business - my property is mine. I decide,” said one survey answer.
Wittal said a draft bylaw could be ready for councillors’ perusal by the June committee of the whole meeting.