Changes to county RV zoning continue

Commercial use changes approved, residential uses to see another hearing

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

The Board of Bonner County Commissioners voted unanimously Dec. 18 to amend county code regarding commercial and residential recreational vehicle use. However, the residential portion of the code will require an additional hearing due to language changes made since the Planning and Zoning Commission held a hearing on the issue Nov. 21.

Commissioners will hold that additional hearing Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 1:30 p.m. at the Bonner County Administration Building to hear further comments on the language changes and ultimately vote whether to adopt the residential RV use amendments.

Approved changes to commercial RV use include the allowance of RV parks in areas zoned agricultural/forest, rural and suburban with a conditional use permit — which requires a P&Z public hearing — as well as set standards for creating RV parks in the new zones.

“Requiring a CUP allows the neighborhood to be a part of that conversation,” said Planning Director Milton Ollerton.

The residential RV code changes — which will see another hearing Jan. 22 — have seen several renditions over the past several weeks as planning staff reworked the code to improve clarity. The proposed changes would allow for two permanent RV dwellings on a property of at least one acre, whereas current code only allows residential RV use for 120 days at a time. 

The language edits on the table during the upcoming hearing pertain largely to defining what constitutes temporary or permanent use of an RV. Commissioners also proposed a provision Dec. 18 that would prevent people who are currently building their home from having to purchase permits for living in their RV if they already have a permit for the dwelling they’re in the process of building.

Commissioner Dan McDonald said the P&Z commission originally revisited the ordinances in an effort to mitigate the difficulty of enforcing the 120-day rule currently on the books.

“We have been trying to loosen this because of the noise around it,” McDonald said, referencing the fervent conversations on social media surrounding the issue leading up to the Nov. 21 hearing.

“It’s their property,” McDonald added later during deliberations. “They should get to do what they want as long as they don’t violate their neighbors’ private property rights.”

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