North Bay council has accepted a recommendation from city staff not to amend a zoning bylaw that resulted in a couple being ticketed for parking their camper in their driveway, reported PJ Wilson for The North Bay (Ontario) Nugget on March 22.
But Richard and Sinday Sarazin were also told Monday night that municipal staff does have some leeway on whether a ticket will be laid, and that they may find some relief with an application for a variance to that bylaw.
Richard and Sinday Sarazin were ticketed after the city received a complaint about the fifth wheel trailer parked in their driveway, even though many neighbours — and many more people in their neighbourhood — also had parked campers, boats and utility trailers that contravened the bylaw.
In fact, when the ticket was issued, they were informed that there was nothing the bylaw officer could do about the other vehicles and trailers because no one had complained about them.
“The staff does have some leeway,” Coun. Mike Anthony said following Monday night’s meeting, pointing out that malicious or vexatious complaints don’t have to be acted upon, as long as “safety is not an issue.”
“It looks to me like staff can use discretion in this case,” Anthony said, adding that they can apply for a variance, which would free them from concerns like this in the future.
“There are several thousand” campers, trailers, boats or vehicles parked around the city in a way that contravenes the bylaw, Richard Sarazin said in a presentation to council. Yet he was the only one slapped with a ticket, he said.
The couple park their RV in their driveway between trips during the spring and summer and store it elsewhere during the winter.
The bylaw says in any residential zone, no boat, snowmobile, motor home or similar recreational vehicle or equipment taller than 1.8 metres can be parked or stored on the municipal road allowance or on any lot except in a private garage, side yard or rear yard.
Even in those cases, the RV cannot interfere with visibility of traffic, public safety or enjoyment of the amenities of the neighbourhood.
The bylaw permits motorhomes, travel trailers, boats and other recreational vehicles of less than 1.8 metres as long as they do not encroach upon the municipal road allowance.
“We do need bylaws in place,” Richard Sarazin agreed.
His wife agreed, but said the bylaw should be “the law for everyone.
“Everyone should be treated equally,” Sinday Sarazin said.
This article originally ran in The North Bay Nugget.