MR council to start reworking RV bylaw

Residents given four options at open house

By mid-summer, council should have an idea of how Maple Ridge residents feel about recreational vehicles and where they should be parked.

District staff will distill comments from Wednesday’s open house, put them all into a report, then let council make the decision, likely in the fall.

RV regulation was a burning issue this spring after one resident filed more than 100 complaints about improperly parked RVs, creating an avalanche of complaints and leading staff to issue relocation orders for some of the hotels on wheels.

Residents were given four concepts to comment on during the open house in municipal hall.

Concept A would allow any size RV to be stored on a residential lot, providing it fits completely within property lines.

Concept B proposed the same thing, with one condition: all RVs be set back 1.6 metres from the property line, to give neighbours breathing space.

Concept C says only vehicles up to 7.6 metres (25 feet) can be parked in front yards and those larger have to go in the back or along the side of a house.

The district’s current bylaw bans RVs larger than 7.5 metres.

Bob Sutherland, who has an RV of about 8.4 metres (28 feet), liked the first suggestion, though he noted most people don’t know where their property line ends and municipal property begins.

Most people seemed to like that concept, he added.

“I really hope the municipality takes everyone’s concerns to heart and doesn’t just ram it through with their own agenda.”

The fourth idea proposed by staff was Concept D, which limits vehicles longer than 7.6 metres to either the side or back of the lot, allowing RVs shorter than that in the front and requiring setbacks from property lines of 1.6 metres all the way around.

The district also wanted feedback on new rules for taking complaints from people on bylaw infractions.

It suggested that in an urban area, people could only be able to complain about something if their house was within a 100-metre radius of whatever was bugging them.

In rural areas, that distance would be 400 metres.

It also proposed limiting to three the number of complaints a resident can make within a year.

The current RV controversy resulted in bylaws issuing removal orders for some RVs, but enforcement action has been suspended while the review is underway.

But Sutherland pointed out someone could live two streets away and still be able to complain about his neighbour and be within the 100-metre radius.

Jacques Blackstone instead proposed that a resident should only be able to complain about something if it’s visible from his or her residence.

He also liked Concept A, which allows any type of RV on a property.

Another resident said if a law limits the number of RVs on a residence, it also should  limit the number of cars parked outside a house.

Currently, there’s no limit on the number of licenced vehicles on a property, while only two unlicensed vehicles can be stored on a property.