Council approves tenting report

Merna Emara
Staff Writer

Fort Frances council approved the recommendation to amending the tenting bylaw during its last council meeting. Under this bylaw, tenting in Fort Frances will be regulated.

The bylaw will be effective after the actual authorization of the amendments is approved at next week’s council meeting.

Cody Vangel, chief building official and municipal planner, said after council approves the bylaw, there will be a 20-day appeal period. If there are no appeals, the law is forthwith, he added.

This is not a new bylaw, but an amendment to the existing one to encompass more regulations around tenting, motor homes, truck campers and camp trailers erected on residential properties.

The approval of this bylaw comes after the issue was brought to council since last summer.

“The zoning bylaw is already in effect. It was passed in 2014,” Vangel said. “This bylaw will include further verbiage and provisions with regards to tenting as well as the storing parking and using of trailers and motor homes within the town.”

The amended bylaw does not prohibit tenting on residential properties. However, it puts regulations on the quantity of tents and the time of year in which they can be erected.

The bylaw now states that one tent is allowed on a single-family detached dwelling, semi-detached dwelling or townhouse dwelling in the Residential Type One (R1) or Residential Type Two (R2) zone, provided it is less than 10 square meters. If residents wish to erect a tent, it could be done between May 1 and Sept. 30.

To avoid confusion, a new definition of ‘tent’ was also added to be “a temporary or permanent shelter constructed of canvas, fabric, tree boughs or other material and apparently erected to protect a person or persons from the elements but does not include a dining or special events tent.”

Regulations around motor homes, truck campers and camp trailers were also added. Under the amended bylaw, single-family detached dwelling, semi-detached dwelling or townhouse dwelling in the Residential Type One (R1) or Residential Type Two (R2) are allowed one motor home, truck camper or a camper trailer to be used as a temporary human habitation.

However, they can only be put in the rear or interior side yard between between May 1 and Sept. 30.

That being said, if residents wish to erect more than one tent or have more than one camp trailer, they have to submit an application to Vangel. Depending on the application, Vangel may provide a temporary authorization to have more than one tent or camp trailer, but not more than four.

Vangel said there will be no application fees assigned for the summer of 2021 when requesting additional tents or camp trailers on a designated property. This will be done in order for administration to understand the time needed process applications before assigning an application fee in the summer of 2022.

“The intent behind that is so we can understand ourselves internally as administration,” Vangel said. “What effort and time would be involved in in assessing an application, whether it’s a site visit, phone correspondence or property file reviews. This will allow us to allocate how much time maybe involved with each application so we can assign a more accurate application key in 2022.”

A public meeting was held on Jan. 25 2021, in order to give members of the public the opportunity to have their voices heard. No comments in support or opposition were received during that meeting.