My wife and I have been the brunt of some of the anger over the RV issue in Mulhurst Bay. I would like to comment as follows:
The county has 35 different land use districts/zones. Two of the 35 allow for a house next to an RV next to a house. Country residential and urban residential zoning anywhere in the county, including Mulhurst Bay, does not and never has allowed for this. If someone wants to build their dream home/cottage next to an empty lot that could legally contain a school bus, camper, fifth wheel etc., the zoning on the property they should purchase would be recreational resort holdings or mixed recreation residential.
My personal opinion is that it is harsh to issue a 14-day stop order on a property that has been offside for 20 plus years. My recommendation to council in 2013 was that we should send a registered letter to the hundreds of these properties county-wide, formally advising them that they are non-compliant and advise them that unless we get a specific complaint about their property we would give them a five-year grace period to comply with our bylaws. My hope was that the majority would come into compliance and this would be a start to resolving this long-outstanding issue and show some flexibility by the county.
My second choice was to do what the county did in Lakeshore Residential and allow for an RV permit at a cost of $500 every three years. These permits would be at the discretion of the development officer. If there is a subdivision with 50 lots, 49 of which are developed with houses, a permit for an RV would not be a difficult decision for the development officer. On the other hand, in a subdivision that is not fully developed, or has a lot with an existing RV, the county would send out a notification to adjacent property owners regarding an initial permit and then again every three years. This would allow the neighbours to have a voice.
I am a strong supporter of open houses, especially with a complex/contentious issue such as this. That is why I suggested to council in early 2014 that we hold open houses throughout the county to allow all voices to be heard before a decision was made. Council has now agreed to hold an open house at Mulhurst Bay Community Hall on Jan. 13, 2017 at 7 p.m. to discuss this issue.
Larry McKeever, councilor
County of Wetaskiwin