Trustees send dog sitting issue to Temporary Use Permit process

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, October 27 2015

Those seeking to operate a “dog sitting” business on Gabriola in the future may have to go through the Temporary Use Permit (TUP) process, with the latest move from the Gabriola Local Trust Committee (LTC).

Trustees Melanie Mamoser and Heather Nicholas along with LTC Chair Laura Bushekin (from Denman Island) deliberated over the dog sitting project at the LTC meeting this past Thursday night.

Feedback from more than one member of the public was that allowing dog sitting to be listed as a valid home occupation would prevent neighbours from being able to have a say in whether such a business could operate in the neighbourhood.

Requiring a TUP would instead allow the neighbours to have a say in allowing the business, and then once the TUP time was up, the business owner could then seek to have the business approved in a more permanent fashion with the support of the neighbours.

Island Planner Aleksandra Brzozowski said that currently dog sitting is not differentiated from kennels. Both are valid operations on properties five acres or larger on lots zoned Large Rural Residential (LRR).

On Small Rural Residential (SRR), there is no dog sitting or kennels allowed.

She said her recommendations for implementing a dog sitting allowance on properties zoned SRR looked at what is done in other suburban or semi-rural communities where lots are typically a half acre in size.

“Regulation by lot size is not done,” she said,

“The focus is instead on issues of noise, and number of dogs.”

Brzozowski suggested putting a limit on the number of dogs, only five dogs would be allowed, and would include any dogs owned by the property owner.

She was clear that the suggestion was not to limit the number of dogs the property owner could own.

Trustee Mamoser said she would like to move the project in the direction of a Temporary Use Permit.

“I think it can happen on SRR lots that are half an acre. I do see the need to have the neighbours on board, to have them think this is a good idea.

“TUPs allow for us to explore new businesses which do not fit into a specific mould - we can use a TUP to explore whether it works or not in an area. Then the public can see if it is something that works.”

Trustee Nicholas said she wasn’t originally in favour of TUP “because I was looking at the red tape involved, I was concerned on the impact of the person trying to operate a business.

“I’ve come to realize there are a lot of opinions both pro and con on this. Given the tenor and strength of the community response - I’ve definitely reconsidered my position. I want to explore this as a TUP. Although I have some things I would like to add in that were not included in the draft bylaw.”

She asked if something could be included about how dog sitters deal with dog waste.

“I would want to be careful - if people manage pet waste on their own property. But the amount of pet waste that ends up in landfills is quite frightening.”

Staff will be bringing an updated project charter to the next LTC meeting.