Residents speak out, council tables controversial bylaw
Airdrie residents came out in force to provide City council with their views about the proposed Community Standards Bylaw (CSB) during a four-hour public hearing, Oct. 1.
With just one exception, residents expressed their disapproval with the recreational vehicle (RV) section of the bylaw, which proposed the vehicles not be allowed in front yards for six months of the year. It also limited boats and off-highway vehicles to 24-hour stays and utility trailers to 72 hours in front driveways.
After hearing a large volume of objections and recurring themes, council voted to table the proposed bylaw, which amalgamated a number of current and new regulations into one document and laid out minimum standards for property maintenance, outside storage, ponding water, recreation vehicles (RVs), noise control, sidewalk clearing and unsightly conditions.
“We’ve gotten some really awesome input,” said Alderman Glenda Alexander, who made the tabling motion.
“We have heard your concerns and I think we realize that we need to take another look at this.”
Council gave first reading to the CSB, which was more than two years in the making, on June 4.
Two open houses were held at the end of September that City staff estimated drew about 75 people, who shared mixed reactions to the bylaw.
However, at the Oct. 2 meeting, most residents shared the same opinion on the bylaw’s RV section.
George Dunn, a 10-year resident, was against the proposed RV section of the bylaw.
“I’m all for the CSB, we need it for unsightly premises,” he said.
“When it comes to RVs… people should be allowed to (park them on their property). It’s going to be pitting neighbours against neighbours.”
Larry Skalrudd agreed.
“I think the City should stay out of our driveways,” he said.
“The City should butt out and leave us alone.”
The RV section was added to the proposed bylaw because of a number of complaints, according to Daryl Poburan, the City’s manager of municipal enforcement.
So far in 2012, municipal enforcement has received 202 complaints about RVs and given out 113 citations under the current rules, which state RVs can’t encroach on public or neighbouring property.
Diane Nielsen was the lone supporter of the RV section of the bylaw, citing safety and unsightly vehicles as the main reason to not allow RVs on front driveways.
“I’m definitely in favour,” she said, adding she is an RV owner. “I think the bylaw is fair.”
Several residents also raised concerns about changes to the snow-clearing section of the bylaw, which proposed that snow be required to be cleared within 24 hours after a snowfall rather than the current 48; the unsightly premises section; the noise bylaw; new ponding water regulations; and adding a charge to place a construction bin on a roadway.
Mayor Peter Brown said he appreciated the feedback of residents who attended the meeting.
“I am really impressed so many residents have come out and let us know what they think of their community, because it is your community and we are here to represent you,” he said. “There are a few issues that we need to clearly address before I am able to support this bylaw.”
Brown added it would be difficult for municipal enforcement to implement the new rules because it only has two officers primarily dedicated to making sure residents follow bylaws.
Poburan said he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting.
“I like the outcome,” he said.
“I was hoping the people that complained would come, but if they didn’t, then fair is fair.
“This bylaw helps the officers responding to the complaints we’ve been receiving. This isn’t my bylaw, I was trying to meet the needs of our residents.”
Council directed staff to make amendments to the graffiti, RV, construction bin, utility trailers and boats portions of the CSB.
The matter will return to council at the beginning of December, when aldermen will likely give the document second and third readings.
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