Housing Bylaw 293 given third reading by LTC

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, March 6 2018

The Land Use Bylaw portion of the Housing Project of the Gabriola Local Trust Committee has been given third reading and will now head to the Islands Trust Executive Committee for approval.

Should both the Land Use Bylaw and Official Community Plan bylaws (293 and 292 respectively) be approved, it will mean secondary suites will be allowed on properties over two hectares (five acres) on Gabriola in lieu of the accessory cottages allowed there, or within accessory buildings on those same properties.

The exception will be properties in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

Due to conflicts with what is allowed within the ALR, secondary suites will only be allowed within the primary dwelling of the property. That is consistent with the ALR regulations province wide. (Pre-existing allowances for manufactured homes where property size and ALR regulations permit will also still be allowed.)

According to Trust staff, local government can prohibit secondary suites completely within ALR, or allow within the ALR standards, but local government cannot be “more” permissive than what the ALR standards are.

Also moving forward will be allowing for bathroom and cooking facilities to be permitted in one accessory building on any size or zoning of residential property.

For those properties large enough to have a secondary suite or dwelling, that building is not counted as the “one” accessory dwelling with the bathroom and/or kitchen.

And the accessory building may have both a bathroom and kitchen installed.

While all three members of the Gabriola LTC wanted to be able to find a way to include expanding what could be allowed for ALR properties, none wanted to delay further on the rest of the proposed changes.

As Trustee Melanie Mamoser said, “It hurts to delay this process any further, but I want to get it right. This term is up, and I want to get this right before the end. I would like to be clear on this.”

Trustee Heather O’Sullivan said, “We can continue to try hammer a square peg in a round hole.

“As our current proposed bylaw sits, there are no changes to ALR lands. Separating [ALR] out from the rest of the bylaw, which is probably ready to go with small tweaks, is not a bad plan. But...if we’re doing that, I think this needs to have more pushing on it.

“There needs to be more communication with the ALC about their actual regulations. I’m wondering if we need to separate it out, but we need to not lose it. 

“We need to solidly incorporate it into Phase 2.”

Mamoser said, “If we kept [ALR] in, and we delay, then I would want to hear back from the ALC, and I’m not sure we’re going to get the response in time.”

O’Sullivan said she would want the ALC response in writing.

“I get there were informative phone calls - but I want a response in writing that goes beyond what they’ve said.”

With Bylaw 293 in the post-public phase, members of the public are not to discuss the bylaw with any of the Trustees. Comments regarding either Bylaw 292 or 293 should be directed to the Islands Trust staff at the Northern Office on North Road.