Maple Ridge council wants to limit bylaw complaints

Bylaw department considers limiting people to three complaints per year

How close should you have to be before you fink on your neighbours – close enough so you can see the bylaw transgressor, within 100 metres – or maybe just a neighbourhood busy-body who likes to go on patrol?

After looking at surrounding cities, Maple Ridge’s bylaw department suggests you should have to live within 100 metres of whatever’s bugging you, before you can complain and spark possible action by bylaws.

And you shouldn’t be able to complain endlessly, either.

Under the review, staff are proposing people be limited to three complaints per year, after experiencing “enormous numbers of complaints,” many from the same person, that all require investigation.

Maple Ridge council is in the process of hammering out new criteria following the controversy over the bylaws department’s handling of complaints about recreation vehicles.

One resident complained more than 100 times. There’s been a “significant volume of complaints” that have gone beyond neighbourhood boundaries, bylaws director Liz Holitzky said in a report.

Another suggestion is not to act on anonymous complaints, unless they involve safety issues. Most cities do this.

Complaints will also be kept confidential under the proposal from the district bylaws department.

The proposals will be reviewed by the public at the June 29 open house on RV storage regulations at municipal hall.

Holitzky’s department looked at surrounding cities and found that four have no boundaries for taking a complaint, while four require that the complainer be affected directly.

Seven of the cities have no limits in the number of complaints that can be lodged.

Holitzky pointed out that no fines or tickets have been issued this year for improperly stored RVs or tents and that most tickets handed out were for parking violations, which have dropped by 23 per cent so far this year.