At the Nov. 18 planning and community development committee meeting, SCRD board directors decided to forward an amendment bylaw for the Roberts Creek Official Community (OCP) plan to first reading with a public hearing to follow.
The proposed amendment aims to designate a site-specific temporary use permit area for 1220 Lockyer Road, where owner Jordyn Laxton will apply for a temporary use permit (TUP) to allow up to five RVs to stay on the property as longer term temporary accommodation. It would not change the zoning of the property.
Because the zoning doesn't allow for the RVs to be there, the owner must either ask for a permanent rezoning and OCP change or ask for the OCP to be amended to designate the property an area where temporary use permits can be issued. Then, he would have to apply for a TUP to allow the RVs for a fixed period and under certain conditions.
“This application is an effort by the applicant to legalize a current non-conforming use,” the agenda states, and the staff recommendation was to abandon the proposed bylaw, citing a character shift and the implicit introduction of a precedent for a “leap” in land use.
Property owner Jordyn Laxton and legal advocate Ken Carson addressed the directors during the meeting, imploring directors to consider the eight people who live on the property.
The property is zoned as country residential. While the staff report notes long-term RV camp sports are not consistent with this designation under the OCP, it states, “In the absence of having adequate supply of housing options that are affordable, RVs are a compelling option for some residents.”
Some directors raised concerns about safety and utilities.
Halfmoon Bay director Lori Pratt said she would be supportive of a first reading.
“I think it’s necessary. We are in an affordable housing crisis,” she said. “We need to look at the human impact as well as the community impact going forward… At the end of the day, we are going into winter and to look at eviction of a number of residents, I don’t think is human, and government needs to be human and humane and responsive.”
Roberts Creek director Andreas Tize’s motion to abandon the proposal was defeated, with only two votes – Elphinstone Donna McMahon’s and his own – in favour.
Tize was the only director who voted in opposition to bringing the application to first reading, saying he couldn’t support it, as a representative of the community. He said he’s received dozens of letters and a petition, all in opposition to the development.
“The compassion is fairly low because of the way that this process has unfolded – build first and ask for permission later,” Tize said.
Pender Harbour/Egmont director Leonard Lee said he wants to hear from more people in the Roberts Creek area.
“When they realize that these people are at risk of being evicted with nowhere to go, if they still say the same thing, that’s a different matter, but 20 [people] is not enough for me in an instance this severe,” Lee said.
Referrals to ensure the proposal can conform to all standard development requirements would take place after first reading of the bylaw. Information from a public hearing could be used to inform conditions to a temporary use permit, general manager of planning and development Ian Hall said.