A common misconception about permits is that they only required when you are constructing some kind of substantial building, like a large house. In New Brunswick, building permits are required for any commercial building, any dwelling over 625 sq. ft., and any garage or outbuilding over 592 sq. ft. Development permits are required for almost every other kind of development. "Development" is a broad term that includes changing the use of land from one purpose to another. So, when it comes to setting up a recreational vehicle (RV) on any land, the question is: does it change the current use of land? If the land is already a campsite and there are no zoning restrictions on the total number of RVs allowed, the answer is 'no.' Also, if the RV is not being used but is only being stored as an accessory use of land, then no permits are needed.* But developing any land for an RV campsite changes the use of that land, even if it is for just one camper. This does require a permit. Development may include clearing vegetation, setting up a shed to obtain power, finding a location for septic disposal, and setting up a deck, or even a digging a well - all for the purpose of creating an RV campsite. Taken together, these types of activities describe a legal "development" and this requires a development approval under the Community Planning Act of New Brunswick.
Buying or developing land to place an RV on it may be a costly mistake if you do not obtain the necessary approvals first. You can find out if a certain piece of land permits an individual RV campsite by applying for a zoning confirmation letter. Once you are ready to obtain an approval, here are the five basic steps:
- Draw a site plan showing where the RV will be placed on the land along with any outbuildings and write in the measurements for the distances to any property lines, watercourses, wetland, and the road**;
- Fill out the Campsite without Onsite Septic Disposal form and email it to DPS-MSP.Information@gnb.ca c/o the Plumbing Inspector, Patrick McShane;
- Apply for a 'development permit' and describe what your intended use of land is as well as upload a copy of the site plan (1) and the approved form for septic disposal (2);
- Pay the fee for the permit (fee varies $50.00-100.00, by community);
- Post your development permit (sent via email) for a minimum of ten days on the site.
Those are the five basic steps. Once you have your permit, enjoy camping!
(*) Some municipalities require RVs to be stored in the side or rear yard in residential or other zones. Check your zoning here.
(**) If you can place your RV at least 30 meters (100') from a watercourse or wetland and 30 meters from a rural road or highway, then you can avoid additional permits.