Housing LUB bylaw amended ahead of potential third reading

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, January 16 2018

The proposed housing bylaw (293) to amend the Gabriola Land Use Bylaw is on the agenda for the January 18 Local Trust Committee meeting.

There have been changes made to the proposed bylaw since the community information meeting held November 16, 2017.

The proposed bylaw now limits a property to having a bathroom and/or kitchen area to only one accessory building - rather than allowing bathrooms/kitchens in all permitted accessory buildings, which for small rural residential lots (SRR) is limited to three.

Staff have removed the requirement for a covenant limiting the total number of dwellings on a lot to two.

Instead, the proposed bylaw now reads, “For lands outside of the ALR [Agricultural Land Reserve], a secondary suite shall not be permitted on a lot unless the owner of the lot has registered a restrictive covenant under Section 219 of the Land Title Act in favour of the Gabriola Island Local Trust Committee, prohibiting the registration of a strata plan under the Strata Property Act or Land Title Act which would result in the secondary suite being a separate lot.”

There is also language amending the Agricultural Reserve (AR) zone language for those parcels within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) to be consistent with the Agriculture Land Commission (ALC) regulation/policy.

At the community information meeting, planning staff confirmed that the Agricultural Land Commission will allow a secondary suite above an existing (farm) building to be constructed on a lot in the ALR only if the property has farm status. 

Tenancy of the secondary suite is not restricted to family or farmworkers but should be limited to “one person or a family.”

In order to ensure Proposed Bylaw No. 293 is consistent with the intent of the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, planning staff have removed the proposed provisions for a secondary suite above an existing building entirely from the Agriculture (AG) Zone. 

As staff explain in the report coming before the LTC this Thursday, this has been removed because the local government (in this case the LTC) is responsible for ensuring that farm status is maintained by the property owner in order for the secondary suite (built permanently into an existing farm building) to be lawfully used. 

According to staff, this is not only onerous for the local government, but may contribute to an unstable market rental housing supply as tenants may lose their housing if farm status is not maintained.

The LTC could enact regulations to permit a secondary suite above an existing farm building subject to farm status being maintained, but that would require a resolution requesting staff to prepare additional language for the LUB Amendment Bylaw 293.

Proposed Bylaw 292, which will amend the Gabriola Official Community Plan (OCP), was given third reading at the December 14, 2017, LTC meeting, and has been forwarded to the Islands Trust Executive Committee for approval.

If the LTC proceeds with the recommendations and Proposed Bylaw No. 293 is subsequently approved by the Executive Committee, it will be returned to the LTC for consideration of final reading (adoption) once Proposed Bylaw No. 292 (OCP) is approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.