August 29th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 35
Public Hearing held on RVs in Country Residential parcels
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Vyk Harnett photo
Acreages sit at the southeastern foot of Mt. Tecumseh.
Pass Herald Reporter
Approximately 50 people attended the council meeting on August 14 to have their voice heard at a public hearing concerning a proposed amendment to the Land Use Bylaw that removes the provisions which allowed for the storage of recreation vehicles on Grouped Country Residential (GCR) parcels where no principle use has been established.

In essence, this means that if a parcel of land is vacant and no principal use has been established (i.e. a permit for a dwelling has yet to be issued), no recreation vehicle may be stored on the property. Once development and building permits have been issued, up to three recreation vehicles may be stored on the property.

Under the current Land Use Bylaw (Bylaw 868, 2013), one RV is permitted to be stored for a maximum of 30 days per calendar year where no principle use has been established. The proposed amendments will remove this allowance.

Most of those who spoke at the public hearing lived on acreages along Tecumseh Road in Coleman, and the grand majority spoke against the proposed bylaw.

“The proposed bylaw feels like a stab in the back. I don't think anybody out there is doing anything but providing fun for ourselves and our family. We all pay property tax and are contributing to the community in a big way,” said one speaker out of Lethbridge who has two RVs on his property when his four children and two grandchildren visit. "I fail to see how that is wrong. They love it out here more than we do and, honestly, it's a great place for memories that we're trying to build with our kids and family.”
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Another landowner who said he has owned his property prior to amalgamation in 1979 noted that uses that were permitted prior to the creation of the Specialized Municipality of the Crowsnest Pass should be “grandfathered”, referring to legal non-conformity under the Municipal Government Act (MGA) that if a use was permitted when the landowner purchased their property, it should continue to be permitted regardless of current or future zoning limits. According to the landowner, using RVs as temporary dwellings was a permitted use when what is now the Tecumseh neighborhood was part of Improvement District 5 (ID5).

According to Lisa Kinnear, Development Officer with the municipality, arguments for legal non-conformity would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

These two comments generally sum up the primary concerns that many speakers shared.

However, while speakers at the public hearing lamented the fact that using RVs for camping or for temporary living would no longer be allowed, Kinnear explains that this was never actually a permitted use, not under the existing bylaw, nor the bylaw prior.

The current section on RV use was added to the Land Use Bylaw in April 2016. Prior to that, the bylaw did not have any RV standards. However, campgrounds were never a permitted use on Grouped Country Residential lots, as it was neither listed as permitted or discretionary use, so therefore it was prohibited.
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In 2016, the municipality had sent out a letter to landowners reiterating and explaining the bylaw and permitted/prohibited uses in response to complaints that they received of landowners using RVs are dwellings on GCR parcels. Proponents of the bylaw argue that storing RVs on GCR parcels diminishes the quality of life for those land owners that have built properties. There have also been complaints of noise and community standards violations.

Every few years, Council reviews and revises bylaws. This recent proposed amendment was in response to Council requesting a standard revision of the Land Use Bylaw.

Council passed first reading of the proposed bylaw at a meeting on July 10 and had directed Administration to send a letter to affected land owners to inform them of the changes. On July 24, a letter was mailed to the 321 property owners of Grouped Country Residential parcels.

Second and third reading for the Land Use Bylaw amendment will be scheduled for a future Council meeting. Visit the municipal website to view the agenda for upcoming meetings to find out when the discussion will take place.
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August 29th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 35
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