More consultation expected to help settle rural RV issue

Lacombe County will likely hold a second public hearing on new bylaws for RV resorts after significant changes were suggested.

Lacombe County will likely hold a second public hearing on new bylaws for RV resorts after significant changes were suggested.

The county has been working on a bylaw since last year designed to prevent the over-development of RV resorts.

The bylaw was considered necessary because several developers have proposed large RV developments on Sylvan and Gull Lakes that could see thousands of seasonal residents lured to the county.

The RV resorts have already proved controversial, with some rural landowners and summer village residents opposed to the scale of development proposed.

A public hearing was held in May that drew a number of people, including Sunbreaker Cove Mayor Gib Clark. Residents of the summer village have been watching the RV resort bylaw closely because the 423-lot Skyy Country Resort has been proposed for a site nearby. Homeowners fear the resort will flood the area with traffic and vacationers and overwhelm area facilities and the boat launch.

Clark was critical that the bylaw proposed then did not specify that the RV resorts were to be for seasonal use only.

To get more information, county councillors and staff embarked in June on a day-long bus tour to Carefree Resort and Gleniffer Lake Resort on Gleniffer Lake and also Coyote Creek Golf and RV Resort, southwest of Sundre.

Brenda Hoskins, a consultant working for the county, said new changes to the bylaw have been introduced to address some of the concerns raised at the public hearing and include input from developers, municipal staff and the councillors who went on the tours.

The changes were reviewed by a lawyer, who said they were significant enough and there was enough public interest in the issue that a second public hearing should be called. Council is expected to set a date when the bylaw comes back to council Nov. 12.

Among the key changes is the modification of a purpose statement to make it clear RV resort districts are not intended for full-time permanent occupancy.

Hoskins said the county stayed away from limiting lot owner stays based on “seasonal” use because definitions can vary. Many consider seasonal as the period between the May long weekend to the September long weekend. However, the county’s goal is to allow RV resorts to be used all year, while discouraging permanent occupancy.

The bylaw also changes the minimum size of condominium lots to 3,000 square feet (278 square metres) from 2,500 square feet (232 square metres).

However, site coverage has been reduced to 1,250 square feet (116 square metres) from 1,650 square feet (153 square metres).

Developers must now provide 20 per cent of open space, up from the 10 per cent earlier proposed. Lot owners will only be allowed to store one off-road vehicle, such as a boat or quad, per lot. Developers will be required to create a communal storage area. No permanent structures, other than amenity buildings, will be allowed.

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