Maple Ridge open house on RVs

Public gets to comment June 29

As long as the RV fits, let it sit.

Or maybe require recreational vehicles, whatever the size, to be set back at least 1.6 metres (five feet) from a home’s property line.

How about allowing only smaller RVs, under eight metres (26 ft.) in front yards while anything larger has to go along the side of the house or back – with requirements to keep 1.6 m (five feet) away from any property line?

Those are some possible solutions to Maple Ridge’s RV ruckus as council reviews its regulations on recreational vehicles.

Like or hate the ideas?

You can voice your views at an open house June 29 at municipal hall.

In the meantime, people won’t have to worry about having machines longer than 7.5 m on their properties. A stall on enforcing the old bylaw will remain in place until new rules are written, council affirmed Monday.

The limit on RV lengths, date back to 1985, when Maple Ridge wrote its bylaw on RVs, setting the limit for residential properties at 7.5 m (24.6 ft) in length. Since then, the average length of an RV has grown to 14 m.

The District of Maple Ridge is reviewing its zoning bylaw that deals with storage of RVs after many residents complained of getting letters from the bylaws department and removal orders – after years of keeping them on their premises without complaint.

Coun. Linda King said any changes have to be clear to make it as easy as possible for bylaws officers to enforce.

“We really want to minimize the discretionary component that they [bylaw officers] may be called upon to exercise.”

Following the open house, council will consider the comments, then draft changes to the bylaw, which requires a public hearing.

Staff looked at RV regulations in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Mission, Burnaby and Pitt Meadows and others.

Each community has rules on where RVs can be parked on lots and what kind of setbacks from property lines are required and the number of RVs allowed on each lot.

RVs often are parked for long periods and are larger than small sheds, which would require building permits, bylaws director Liz Holitzky told council in a report.

The size of each residential lot could also play a role in what and where RVs are stored.

Staff research found that four cities had no restriction in RV size while North Vancouver city allowed RVs of up to 12 metres long (40 ft.) in enclosures, in back yards only.

Coun. Al Hogarth pointed out some areas he’s seen have RVs parked in metal cages. “It’s not very pretty.”

Holitzky also pointed out other areas, such as people renting out their driveways for RV parking and ensuring sightlines aren’t obscured, and recognition of lot size, need consideration in any new bylaw.

Pitt Meadows is doing its own review of the issue.

Coun. Craig Speirs said trailers people use for work should also be included and asked if people are allowed to live in RVs full-time.

Not under Maple Ridge bylaws, Holitzky replied.

On the street, RVs only can be parked in one spot for 48 hours.

Coun. Cheryl Ashlie wanted to ensure e-mails and letters will be given equal stature to comments made at the open house.

Many people don’t want to attend because they don’t want to confront their neighbours.

Council agreed to ensuring people are aware of that.

Bylaws staff in their research learned of a yacht parked across an entire front yard or RVs or boats parked carelessly on front lawns and thus asked that language clearly state that parking can only take place on driveways.