A proposal to allow two recreational vehicles on certain lots in the Buffalo Sands residential subdivision was defeated by Stettler County council after a public hearing March 10.
The public hearing was conducted the same day as the regular council meeting.
The public hearing was held to consider an amendment to the land-use bylaw, proposing a change “to the Resort Residential – Communally Serviced Land Use District to provide for a second recreational vehicle as a dwelling unit on designated lots within the Buffalo Sands subdivision,” noted the agenda memo.
Reeve Larry Clarke called the public hearing to order, noting that due to pandemic rules there would be no in-person appearances at the hearing, while teleconference would be used.
Staff presented the proposed amendment to the bylaw, noting this was requested from within the community.
It was explained that Buffalo Sands, located along the shores of Buffalo Lake northwest of Stettler, allows for homes on lots on which one recreational vehicle is also allowed.
However, a lot that doesn’t have a permanent home but only has an RV can have a second RV with time restrictions before it must be moved.
Staff explained, if approved, the amendment would permanently allow two RVs on a lot that didn’t have a house on it.
Reeve Clarke asked if there were any speakers or letters in favour of the amendment, and staff read out six letters and emails. No one spoke in-person.
The letters mostly stated that homeowners in Buffalo Sands were allowed to have an RV on their property year-round, while RV owners were denied this, essentially allowing homeowners to have two residences on their lots year-round, while RV owners couldn’t.
The reeve then asked if there were any speakers or letters opposed to the amendment, and staff read out 12 letters and emails in opposition.
The reasons for opposing the amendment were varied, with some stating that homeowners didn’t purchase their property with the intention of having RV lots beside them, that the number of RVs on lots was already exceeding the allowed limits and that approving the amendment would lower property values for homeowners.
Two other municipalities sent in comments stating they were not necessarily opposed to this amendment.
After the public hearing was closed, councillors debated the proposal.
Staff clarified that, if approved, this amendment would allow for a permit to be issued allowing the second RV on a lot for five years.
Coun. Wayne Nixon asked which lots would be affected by this amendment, to which staff answered those adjacent Abby Road.
Coun. Ernie Gendre and Les Stulberg both stated it sounded to them, judging by the comments in the public hearing, more people were opposed to this amendment than in favour of it.
Coun. Nixon asked if two RVs are currently allowed in some way, to which staff answered the current county bylaw allows for a second RV to be on the lot for 21 days, after which it must be moved for five days.
When second reading of the bylaw was called, councillors unanimously defeated it.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter