The public will be given until the end of September to comment on the 200-plus changes proposed in Sechelt’s new zoning bylaw 530.
Originally comments were supposed to be in to the District by Sept. 3; however, during the public information meeting held Aug. 26, residents pressed for more time to comment.
The Sept. 3 deadline, development planner Angela Letman explained, was in order to give staff time to work the proposed changes into the draft bylaw before a public hearing is scheduled.
“Staff is getting a lot of time to consider this, but the public is not. One week is highly insufficient,” Tillicum Bay resident Keith Thirkell said to applause. “I love the report, I love the presentation, I think the zoning bylaw change is long overdue, but seven days is highly inadequate.”
One resident who got up to speak, speculated the “rush” to get the new bylaw ready for public hearing had something to do with fulfilling an agenda before the next municipal election in November, which brought about applause from others in the audience. Director of development services Ray Parfitt said that was not the case.
“This has been a two-year process,” Parfitt said, noting the official community plan (OCP) was changed in 2010 so the District’s zoning bylaw had to change to match it.
“We had to get going on a zoning bylaw that was consistent with the OCP. It just so happens the time it has taken is two years to get to where we are now.”
After hearing multiple concerns about the timeline to comment on the 200-plus changes, Parfitt said he would give residents until the end of September to get their comments in.
The new bylaw will replace zoning bylaw 25, which was adopted in 1987 and has proved problematic over the years due to its hand-drawn maps, outdated wording and ambiguity.
The 161-page bylaw outlines new zones in the District and the permitted uses in those zones.
“We have over 200 amendments to the bylaw, consolidations and updates,” Letman noted.
Some of the changes include the regulation of hot tubs and pools (where they can go and how loud the pumps can be), shipping containers, solar panels and wind generators in the District of Sechelt.
Other changes include the creation of new zones like the M-1 working waterfront zone and the new airport zone, as well as new permitted uses, such as the addition of medical marijuana production as a permitted use in the RR-2, RR-3, I-1 and I-2 zones.
The changes are extensive and the zoning bylaw is used to regulate all land use in the District. Given the complexity of the changes, in excess of 150 people came to the public information meeting Tuesday night to voice their comments.
Most took copies of their new zones and all were encouraged to send any questions to Letman at ALetman@Sechelt.ca.
You can read zoning bylaw 530 in its entirety on the District of Sechelt website at www.sechelt.ca.
Comments must be in by Sept. 30 and can be sent to email@example.com, mailed to P.O. Box 129, Sechelt, B.C. V0N 3A0 or dropped off in person at the District.
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