You can park your pickup truck anywhere on your property in Langley Township.
But put a camper on top of that same truck, and you have created a recreational vehicle. And then where you park that RV, even on your own land, it becomes an issue that may spark a visit from the bylaw enforcement department.
The Township’s bylaw stipulates that recreational vehicles such as motor homes, travel and tent trailers, campers, boats and boat trailers, can be parked only in a rear yard, or the area of a side yard located behind the front yard setback of a residence.
It is Township policy that its bylaw department respond to infractions only upon written complaint.
That happened to Brad Mason, and it landed him in hot water with the Township. That single complaint, Mason told council on Jan. 10, led to 40 other homeowners being targeted in the Walnut Grove neighbourhood of Forest Hills where he has lived for 20 years.
Of those 40 properties, eight have a trailer or camper. Three owners have been sent warning letters, and two were issued $100 tickets.
More tickets are expected, Mason said.
Mason has had his camper for 10 years. At council’s Jan. 10 meeting, he showed council photos of his pickup truck and camper parked on his driveway. He told council that he conducted a survey of his neighbours and found that all want to be able to park an RV on their driveways.
He said RV owners balk at paying $1,000 in storage fees and don’t like the fact that they cannot advertise that they have driveways suitable for RV parking when they sell their homes. This devalues their properties, he said.
“People are questioning whether Langley is a good place to live due to the loss of property rights and unfair ticketing process,” Mason said.
Mason offered some solutions, among them better judgement when enforcing the bylaw, and enforcement that is fair, predictable and open, and assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Council later supported a motion from Councillor Kim Richter, asking for a report from staff that would examine the bylaws of other municipalities, and what flexibility could be built into the Township’s bylaw, and how it is applied.