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RV Debate Continues as Bonnechere Valley Begins to Prepare RV Bylaw

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How long is a reasonable duration of stay in an RV at a property that already has a dwelling on it? What is the most reasonable number of RVs to keep on a rural property of 15 acres? These are among the myriad of questions that Bonnechere Valley (Ontario, Canada) has to face.

According to a report, the Bonnechere Valley council is preparing an RV bylaw, which includes distinguishing between a permanent RV structure and temporary use for an RV.

“I think we are going down a path that won’t cost our ratepayers an arm and a leg, that we will be able to defend it,” Mayor Jennifer Murphy said.

Councilor Brent Patrick questioned what a reasonable enjoyment of property means.

“We are also taking away people’s rights they originally had with their properties and not something I think we should get into business with,” he said.

“That is why we wanted to make sure there were avenues because there are exceptions to every rule,” CAO Annette Gilchrist said.

The RV topic was debated for around an hour at the committee meeting. Although many questions were asked, there was no decision taken, and the staff will have to bring the issue back up for the council to discuss before the draft is created.

“We still have quite the process to go through public consultations,” Gilchrist said.

The draft staff is currently working on changing the definition of an RV to align with that of the Municipal Act, which describes an RV as more like a trailer. Gilchrist also noted that tiny homes could be added to the definition to accommodate similar provisions.

“That is definitely something that is out there and prominent, and people are having these mobile tiny homes,” she added.

Gilchrist said the proposal from the staff would also include arrangements for when RVs are used for special events, in which there could be several RVs on site.

She said it is recommended to consider the distinction between permanent structures and temporary lodging.

In the case of a permanent structure, she said that accommodation, servicing, density, location, and setbacks are all to be factored in. Having something used all year is more like a home, she noted.

On the other hand, Gilchrist said RVs aren’t allowed to be second homes on a property with a permanent home. He added that they can be temporarily utilized as granny suite alternatives. Another option is to have minor variance options that allow homeowners to own additional RVs.

Staff will continue to discuss the issue and report the recommendations to the council.

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