The Saint John, New Brunswick, city council has turned down the request from a prospering RV dealership to relocate and expand his business in that city.
The council received a round of applause at its public meeting Monday night (Aug. 17) when the politicians voted unanimously to deny a land-use application that would have allowed Aberdeen The RV Place Ltd., a Saint John company, to rezone five parcels of land to make way for a new, permanent dealership, according to the Saint John Telegraph-Journal.
The business is an authorized dealer for Springdale and Zeppelin travel trailers and fifth-wheels manufactured by Keystone RV Co. and the New Brunswick dealer for Coleman folding camping trailers. It was seeking to move from the city’s west side to the east side.
Eight residents of the eastern area of this city of 70,000 located on the Bay of Fundy told council the proposal would change the look and feel of their neighborhood for the worse, increase traffic congestion and worsen flooding problems, among other concerns.
This operation would put the largest footprint on Rothesay Road of any existing business and would destroy the visual harmony at the entrance to Brookville, resident Elizabeth McGahan said, referring to the eastern neighbourhood.
Other residents said they were concerned rows of RV trailers in public view would create an eyesore in their community.
Rick Turner, a consultant who appeared on behalf of Aberdeen, said the company had prepared a revised site plan that would have allowed for eight vehicles in plain view, while another 30 would be located behind a new three-meter-high fence.
Turner, of Hughes Surveys & Consultants Inc., said the company would have followed several conditions proposed by the planning advisory committee and city planning staff, including an asphalt parking lot, concrete curbs, adequate storm drainage and landscaping.
He said he didn’t expect traffic would have increased after the land was developed, since the company wouldn’t sell 10 or 20 vehicles a day and customers likely wouldn’t travel there during peak traffic times in the morning.
The owner has developed a thriving business, and this part of his business employs 10 people. It supplies recreational vehicles to residents of Saint John and surrounding area, Turner said. “I think it’s a tremendous asset in this city and I hope that it continues to thrive.”
Later in the debate, Turner presented photographs of properties surrounding the proposed site of the dealership and said foliage from trees would block views from nearby homes.
But Councillor Bruce Court called the pictures misleading, since the leaves blocking those views would no longer be there during the fall and winter.
“When the foliage is gone, you can see through all those trees,” Court said. “I think your pictures are a little misleading.”
After a public hearing that ran for about an hour and forty-five minutes, council voted to quash the proposal.
It wasn’t the first time such a proposal for Rothesay Road had been defeated.
The city had allowed an RV dealership to open on a smaller slice of land for a year beginning in February 2003. After the year had passed, council turned the application down because of public opposition.