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LETTER: North Langley resident urges common sense on RV parking

Someone complained about a neighbour’s RV and all the homes on the cul de sac were inspected

Dear Editor,

If you have an RV, living in the Township of Langley could cost you $1400 more per year to live.

For the second year in a row, someone on our cul-de-sac has complained about a recreation vehicle (RV) they see from their living room window in the off season. I understand they actually see about one foot of the trailer that isn’t hidden by a hedge.

Last year the bylaw officer visited the RV owner plus, since they are required to check all other similar infractions on the same block, they visited everyone else with an RV and issued warnings. Residents scrambled to find storage which is in short supply so the prices are high – up to $200 per month which adds up to approximately $10,000 per year that our cul-de-sac spends on RV storage … every year!

The bylaw needs exceptions.

The bylaw officer brims with patience but the bylaw that he is policing is seriously flawed. The bylaw requires RVs that are stored on your property to be in the side yard (beside the house) or the backyard (access via lane way). They cannot be on the driveway from April 1 to Sept. 30. Why?

Originally it was because people were filling their driveway with a big trailer therefore parking their commuter vehicle on the street which left no spaces for visitors. It seems it has devolved from there so now anyone can complain for any reason and not be required to justify it – so if you consider your neighbour’s pride-and-joy camper, trailer or motorhome to be an eyesore then simply complain to the Township, and it will have to be moved at the owner’s expense and the owner won’t even be told who complained.

We didn’t have a camper last year, but we do this year so we were included in the sweep when the complainer complained yet again.

We live on a cul-de-sac so each lot is pie-shaped (very narrow in front). Our camper is parked within the setback allowances stated in the bylaw but since the house is set far back (to satisfy the distance a house must be from the side property lines which also results in no side yard), it isn’t actually located beside the house. It is parked in front of our garage on our double-wide super long driveway that has room for three more vehicles.

Being in a community that was developed in the ’80s, there are no back alleys which means we don’t have road access to the backyard or we’d make a spot for it there.

There is no solution for us but to spend $1,400 for storage, if we can find a space. We feel this is an unreasonable expense the Township is requiring us to pay due to an “eyesore” complaint someone made against someone else on the block.

Why isn’t there an exception for our camper to be within the setback allowances yet not be in a side yard? Why isn’t there an exception for a trailer that is situated behind a hedge? Why isn’t there an exception for a fifth wheel that is in a super-long, double-wide driveway? Why isn’t there an exception for a tent trailer on a lot with no back alley?

So, the Township must consider developing some exceptions to this bylaw or it will:

• discourage RV owners from buying homes in the Township of Langley,

• cost residents up to $1,400 per year,

• pit neighbour against neighbour, and

• create avoidable animosity between taxpayers and the Township.

My Grinchy heart hopes that the next people to buy a house in our cul-de-sac have noisy teenagers, drive rumbling cars, play loud music late into the night – and that they move in right next door to the complainer.

Jo-Anne Emery, Walnut Grove

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