The County of Stettler Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) denied a request from a Buffalo Lake recreational vehicle (RV) owner to allow a covered deck for their RV. The decision was made at the April 26 MPC meeting.
The MPC is comprised of members of county council and chaired by Coun. James Nibourg.
Board members read a request for a variance to the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) for a property described as Lot 15 Block 2 Plan 062 0307 in Rochon Sands Heights, with the owner listed as Elisabeth Sherman but the applicant listed as Michael Brenner.
Development Officer Rich Fitzgerald noted the request was, “To consider a variance application to allow a covered deck as an addition to an RV being used as a dwelling unit in the Resort Residential Communally Serviced District.
“The property is located in the resort residential communally serviced district in the County of Stettler. The proposed use of an addition of a deck to an RV is a permitted use in this district. However, the applicant is proposing to use a covered deck.
Section 76.4 (f) of the LUB states that in the Rochon Sands Heights subdivision, an addition to a recreational vehicle shall be limited to a ground-level uncovered deck.”
At a previous MPC meeting board members stated deck covers are not allowed because many neighbours complain about their appearance, especially if the RV is moved and the deck remains.
Fitzgerald, who included photographs of the RV, deck and cover to board members, stated county staff were in that neighbourhood doing inspections when they noticed the covered deck next to the RV in question.
Fitzgerald stated county staff then looked up the development permit for that lot and found that it only allowed a wooden deck without a cover or roof.
The development officer stated county staff then contacted the deck owner and advised them of their options, which likely included removing the deck cover or applying to the MPC for a variance to allow the deck roof to remain.
Fitzgerald noted the deck owner chose to apply to the MPC for a variance.
Coun. Justin Stevens asked if this property was previously granted a variance in the past by the County of Stettler “…for the age of the RV.”
Stevens added that he recalled that the owners asked for a variance allowing the older RV to remain because they had plans to build a residence on that site.
Readers should note the County of Stettler has rules in place restricting the age of RVs in these situations.
Fitzgerald responded Stevens was correct, adding that the permit currently in effect allows the older RV to remain on-site until the fall of 2023 and if the owners wish to have the RV remain they will have to apply for a development permit for a permanent dwelling. The RV could remain on site until construction is complete.
Coun. James Nibourg noted that the MPC recently heard a request similar to this one, “…and we forced them to pull the top off the deck.” Fitzgerald nodded.
The development officer stated that the property owners stated they intend to build a permanent dwelling on this site so removing the deck covering shouldn’t have a major effect on them.
During the discussion, there was some confusion over how to respond to the request for a variance. The planning staff stated their recommendation was to approve the deck itself, which meets the LUB rules, but note the cover is not allowed.
Board members unanimously approved that recommendation.
Local Journalism Initiative reporter