August 31st, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 34
Municipality looks to crack down on illegal RV usage in Pass
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Source: Internet
Live-in Camper with deck add-on.
Pass Herald Reporter
There’s a fine line between keeping an RV on lawfully purchased land and using it as a primary residence.

That line gets crossed surprisingly often in Crowsnest Pass, says council.

On Aug. 23 a delegation of concerned landowners made a presentation to council on random campers in the Tecumseh Road area. The delegates said a number of residents are camping in that area in violation of municipal zoning bylaws.

RVs do not meet the basic safety code requirements for use as residential dwellings under the Alberta Safety Codes Act. The municipality does not recognize them as dwellings and does not issue development permits for them to be used as such.

The municipality is looking to crack down on RV owners whose vehicles have taken on the characteristics of a permanent structure.

If your RV is fixed to the land by pilings or footings, if its wheels are removed, if a structure like a deck or a secondary rooftop has been added and if its hooked up to municipal water, sewer or power, it is in violation of municipal bylaws.

However, the municipality has received a number of inquiries from residents who say they’re using their motorhomes for storage use, which is permitted by municipal zoning bylaws.
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To see if they’re telling the truth, the municipality started conducting inspections to identify non-compliers on Aug. 2. Offenders can expect a warning or a stop order.

Based on the initial findings, the municipality will be going after properties where ‘pads’ or ‘parking stalls’ for motorhomes have been built, where motorhomes are hooked up to municipal electricity, where accessory buildings have been constructed on properties without permits and where outhouses have been installed.

Some of these structures were built after permits were issued in error, or in times of less stringent standards. Others appear to have been built without any permitting at all.

The RV problem appears to have been festering for years. Allowed to ripen by erratic enforcement and ignorance of the law.

“In many cases, the properties appear to have been sold with the understanding that RV usage was permitted,” said a municipal release. “Property owners do not appear to have made themselves aware of Land Use Bylaw standards...further, where enforcement was enacted, the usage appears to have been re-initiated or continued.”

To clarify the law, the town drafted a strongly worded letter and sent it out to real estate agents and hundreds of property owners.
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The municipality received 20 responses. Most were owners in support of the letter and municipal standards or worried that they themselves were guilty of infractions. However, one respondent threatened legal action claiming that the use of their RV had been grandfathered in by a historical lack of enforcement.

Property owners are invited to contact the municipality’s Development Department if they have questions on RVs.

In any case, the municipality faces the current situation because previous permitting and previous bylaws did not explicitly address RV usage. Now the municipality will have to look for non-conformers, reviewing them case-by-case.

“This will be time consuming,” said the municipal statement.
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August 31st ~ Vol. 85 No. 34
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