Under the current and future regulations, RV permits issued prior to September 1, 2023 will expire on January 1, 2024. Should you wish to continue using an RV on those lots, you MUST submit a new permit for this use. If the permit is not approved prior to January 1, 2024 the RV and any accessory structures must be removed until a new RV permit is approved or a dwelling is completed. The RM of Mervin requires both the Permit & MoU to be completed and submitted for any lot with no existing dwelling (i.e., cabin, house) must submit a development permit application for only one (1) RV. This also applies to all locations with an existing RV on site. Application for more than one (1) RV is not allowed.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. My RV has been on my lot for many years, so am I grandfathered in?
No, the Planning and Development Act, 2007 states that only approved developments are considered legal non-conforming when bylaws are updated and changed. Approved developments where the applicant can provide written approval by the municipality for the RV will be considered legal non-conforming. If an approved permit cannot be provided, then it is not considered legal non-conforming, or “grandfathered” in, and is illegal.
2. Why did this amendment get proposed and how did Council determine this amendment?
In the fall of 2017, the RM of Mervin Council requested a meeting with all organized Hamlet Boards within the municipality to discuss the concerns raised from ratepayers about the number of RVs on privately-owned lots.
Another amendment was put forward by Council regarding the operation of formal campgrounds within the municipality, and feedback was provided at this time by ratepayers about the placement of RVs on private residential lots.
Administration and staff have also been listening to concerns, questions, and comments put forward by ratepayers over the past number of years.
All this information was provided to Council for their consideration prior to making any decision on the amendment.
3. How is this amendment considered to be more lenient for RVs?
Prior to the zoning bylaw amendment, the placement of RVs on residential lots was technically prohibited, as it was not listed as a permitted or discretionary use in the zoning bylaw. This amendment allows the placement of one (1) RV on a lot where there is a principal building without submitting a permit. The placement of one RV on a lot where there is no principal building may be permitted with an approved development permit application for the period up to January 1, 2024.
4. Why wasn’t I notified about this amendment?
At the meeting with the Hamlet Board(s) in the fall of 2017, the Hamlet Boards were encouraged to update ratepayers at their Annual General Meetings the following year to inform ratepayers.
The Planning and Development Act, 2007 states that when an amendment is made to the Zoning Bylaw, the minimum notification required is the publication of the notice in a newspaper that circulates in the community for at least two (2) clear weeks before the public hearing. The public notice date was May 28, 2018, and the public hearing date was June 26, 2018, with the newspaper advertisement placed in the North Battleford News Optimist.
The RM of Mervin also posted the notice on the website (www.rmofmervin.ca) for increased notification. Ratepayers that subscribe to the electronic notifications received an email from the municipality advising of the amendment change. The promotion of the website, and the subscription option has been advertised in the RM’s newsletter since the inception of the website in 2011.
5. Why didn’t the RM inform me of this when I purchased my property?
The RM of Mervin is only advised of title transfers from property purchasing once the land transfer has been completed and a letter is received from the landowner’s legal counsel, or the Saskatchewan Management Assessment Agency. It is the responsibility of buyers to complete individual research, and legal counsel and realtors to advise buyers of municipal zoning and regulations.
The RM of Mervin has actively attempted to inform all potential ratepayers of the rules and regulations regarding RV’s when calls were placed to the municipality inquiring about land purchases.
6. How can this amendment be changed?
Changes to the adopted amendment can only be achieved through the adoption of another Zoning Bylaw amendment. Council must complete first reading on a proposed amendment, and then proceed within the public notification procedures as outlined above.
Changes to the Zoning Bylaw or Official Community Plan must be initiated and approved by the Council of the RM of Mervin. If a properly completed petition is submitted to Council signed from valid ratepayers, Council may take the petition into consideration to make amendments to the Bylaws, however, they are not obligated to proceed if they determine it is not in the best interest of the Municipality.
7. Can I vote on this amendment?
No, only elected officials of the RM of Mervin have the authority to vote on Zoning Bylaw amendments as per the Planning and Development Act, 2007.
8. What date does my permit need to be submitted by?
All permits should be submitted as soon as possible, as the Zoning Bylaw Amendment is effective as of the date of approval from the Province of Saskatchewan, which was September 6, 2018.
9. The Zoning Bylaw says that RVs are to be removed January 1, 2024, so does this mean I don’t need to submit a permit until then?
No, this clause for the allowance of the RV until 2024 is effective once a development permit application has been approved by Council. If a permit is not submitted for the RV as soon as possible, then it is not compliant with the RM of Mervin Zoning Bylaw No. 94-4 and cannot remain on site.
10. How much does the permit cost?
The placement of an RV on a lot with no dwelling is a discretionary use, which is currently a $200.00 non-refundable fee.
11. What happens if I don’t submit a permit?
The RM of Mervin will be proceeding with enforcement procedures as per the Planning and Development Act, 2007. If enforcement does not produce compliance, further consequences could result in the payment of a $5,000 per day fine for private ownership, and a $10,000 per day fine for corporate ownership, for the length of the continuing offense upon summary conviction.
12. How is the RM going to enforce this?
The municipality will be completing inventories of properties to determine where RVs are currently on site, and additional monitoring in upcoming months to ensure compliance with the Zoning Bylaw. The RM also works closely with individual Organized and Unorganized Hamlet Boards about daily occurrences within hamlet areas, which ensures compliance to the bylaws. When the RM becomes aware of land uses that are not in compliance with the bylaw, the landowners will be contacted directly for how to comply, or enforcement procedures will be initiated by Council.
13. Who is enforcing the portions of the Zoning Bylaw No. 94-4 that pertain to RVs?
The RM of Mervin has hired individuals to complete random inspections throughout the year to inspect properties for compliance with the Zoning Bylaw. These individuals are travelling along municipal road allowances only and will be taking pictures of sites that are not in compliance with the Zoning Bylaw. The municipality will be contacting these individuals directly by mail to achieve compliance with land use regulations.
14. What happens if I sign the Memorandum of Understanding and build a dwelling by 2024? Do I need to remove my RV?
No, the RV can remain on site without the submission of a Development Permit Application.
15. What will happen January 1, 2024 if I don’t build a dwelling?
The RV must be removed, and the land is to remain vacant until a dwelling is constructed.
The RM of Mervin has detailed lists of properties that currently have an existing principal dwelling on site. This list is updated yearly for all new construction. For those properties that applied for an RV but have not completed the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, the RM will be contacting the landowner directly about conformance, which may result in enforcement.
16. What if I sell my property in 2024, does the new landowner get another five (5) years to build a dwelling?
No, the grace period to accommodate the transition from RVs to dwellings ends in 2024. All future landowners will be required to construct a cabin prior to the placement of an RV.
17. My Hamlet Board has refused my attempts to build in the past, what can I do now?
Contact the RM of Mervin’s at (306) 845-2045 about permit procedures. Hamlet Boards are advisory only, and the final decision-making authority lies with the RM of Mervin Council. Discussions have already begun to rectify these inconsistencies with the Zoning Bylaw with the Hamlet Boards.
18. What happens if I submit a permit for an RV, and want to replace it before 2024, do I need to put in a new permit?
Yes, each individual permit requires the submission of photos and registration or a bill of sale. Any changes to this require the submission of a new permit, MOU and permit fee.
19. Do these amendments apply to the Agriculture and Hamlet Districts (i.e., Spruce Lake and Livelong)?
This amendment does not apply to Hamlet Districts, which includes Livelong and Spruce Lake. This means RVs are not allowed.
Areas in the Agriculture District that are Single Parcel Country Residential Subdivisions are affected by these amendments and are required to put in permits.
Areas in the Agriculture District that have not been subdivided are subject to the amendment, but are not required to submit permits, unless the density of the RVs qualify for a campground, which then requires the submission of permits for that proposed use.
20. There are many unsightly cabins around the RM, and my RV looks better than these buildings. Will the RM be enforcing aesthetics and make people clean up these properties?
Ratepayers are encouraged to speak with their Hamlet Board first to ensure the landowner has been made aware that the property is considered unsightly and untidy. The Hamlet Board should then take the necessary procedures to make the landowner aware and provide them with a timeline to have it remedied. Once this timeline has past and if nothing has been done, the Hamlet Board may then ask Council to proceed with declaring the property unsightly and untidy after providing Council with the proper documentation.
21. Is the RM doing this to simply generate more taxes?
No, the adoption of this Zoning Bylaw Amendment and enforcement is to bring sites that are currently not in conformance with the RM of Mervin’s Zoning Bylaw into alignment with the land use regulations.
22. As an RV owner, why can I not just pay a “tax” or license fee to allow my RV to remain on the lot? I’m willing to pay my fair share, just tell me how much to pay. Other municipalities are doing this, why can’t the RM of Mervin?
Section 306 of the Municipalities Act, 2005 outlines an alternative for the taxation of RVs, which operates through a license fee, as the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency does not assess RVs that can then be taxed. The license fee value can only cover the cost of the administration of the license fee, which would be a nominal amount (i.e., $50, $75), which would not equate to the improvement value of taxation for the construction of a single detached dwelling on a residential parcel.
23. Why is the RM trying to make the lake less affordable, and only for the wealthy?
The intent of the zoning bylaw amendment is not to push away individuals that cannot afford to construct a cabin at the lake, but to uphold the regulations of the Zoning Bylaw as it is currently adopted. This is why the minimum requirement for a principal building is only 592 square feet in the Lakeshore Development District, and 1000 square feet in single parcel country residential acreage subdivisions.
24. Can friends and family members visit my residential lot with their RV?
Families and friends are always welcome at residential lots within the RM of Mervin, but this does not mean that individuals can place RVs for extended periods of time. Short-term visitor use is allowed, but please be respectful of your neighbors and the surrounding area.
25. What needs to be in a cabin, for it to be considered a dwelling?
In the Lakeshore Development District, the minimum size for a cabin on the main floor is 592 square feet (on a single parcel country residential parcel in the Conservation and/or Agriculture District, the size is 1,000 square feet). This building must have a kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. If a structure does not have these components, it will not be considered a dwelling by the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency, which the RM relies on to determine whether a structure is considered a cabin versus a bunkhouse.
26. I own my lot how can you tell me what I can or cannot do on my property?
In 1917 the province of Saskatchewan adopted legislation that enabled municipalities to regulate land use planning. This legislation also stipulated that individuals have “fee simple” certificate of title that provides title owners with the right to use the land in alignment with federal, provincial and municipal laws and bylaws. This original legislation has progressed over time to the legislation of today and enables the RM of Mervin to adopt an Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw that regulates land use and development, which is no different than cities, towns, villages and resort villages.