Friday, August 12 2022

​​​​​​​Sechelt staff highlight some changes to the zoning bylaw update – the second full draft is due out on Friday. Overall, the settlement opens up the possibility of creating 1,300 new “infill” units, according to a staff report.

Here are the briefs from the July 6th regular council meeting.

The District of Sechelt is expected to release the second draft of its Zoning By-law No. 580 update on Friday as part of the July 20 council meeting agenda. The by-law, which governs all land use in the municipality, will be presented for second reading at this meeting.

The 1987 “vintage” zoning by-law update re-examines the uses permitted throughout the municipality, in order to modernize the regulations and simplify the zones.

Staff summarized some of the public comments on the first draft, which was submitted in April, and changes have been made.

The biggest change, said senior policy planner Sam Hogg, is the addition of density bonuses in three zones (RM-1, C-1 and C-4), “to encourage the development of new rental housing” . Rental and social housing developments in these areas could expand to double base density, Hogg said, calling it a relatively “subtle” change that aligns with the official community plan.

“This density premium for rental housing will help alleviate the shortage of secure rental housing in the district and give social housing providers clarity when considering developing new projects,” said the staff report which the accompanied.

The staff report says that many public comments focused on removing primary secondary dwellings for lots under 4,000 square meters in the R1 zone, instead of moving to allow detached secondary dwellings. Staff have increased the permitted size of secondary suites in this area from 90 square meters to 120 square meters. Some of the owners of those lots intended to build homes for their children on those lands, the staff report said, and claims that this plan allows for that, but on a smaller scale.

Overall, the settlement opens up the possibility of creating more than 1,300 new “infill” housing units, according to the staff report. Part of this amount comes from new allocations for secondary suites.

The council has also considered allowances for a second single-family dwelling in the R1 area in return for a ‘moderate density premium payment’. Staff sought advice from council to weigh OCP’s directive to limit expansion into unserved areas and consideration for landlords looking to build second homes on their properties. Councilors Matt McLean and Alton Toth were inclined not to make this change. “I want to see a solid case for why it’s beneficial,” McLean said. “Because I don’t see him right now.”

“I think it’s likely to be just two primary residences on one property, which isn’t necessarily what we need,” Toth said.

After the second reading, the public hearing is tentatively set for September 7. Council takes leave in August.

Permit to build together

The Sunshine Coast Community Services Society (SCCSS) “Building Together” project has obtained its development permit. Earlier in the meeting, council had passed three readings of a 60-year housing agreement to ensure that the 34 units in the 5638 Inlet Avenue building will be rented at affordable rates to women and women with children who fulfill the conditions of eligibility for low and moderate incomes. The SCCS is invoking the commercial zoning 2 (C-2) density bonus to allow for increased building height in exchange for affordable rental housing, the staff report said.

Ebbtide Housing Agreement

The 28-unit rental development at 5681 Ebbtide St., between Hightide and Wharf Avenues, has had its housing agreement passed. The 40-year agreement, registered on title, secures the 28 rental units at market rental rates. The development uses density bonuses to have more density in Residential Zone 4 (R4) in exchange for rental housing.

Police funds

Mayor Darnelda Siegers updated council on RCMP pressures on the district budget. The last time the RCMP had a contract was in 2016 when it entered into union negotiations. Municipalities had been asked to set aside 2.5% for an increase per year, but that figure is closer to 3.5% on average, Siegers said. Another budget pressure is federally mandated body cameras: the equipment and personnel needed to manage the data collected. Finally, E-Comm, federally mandated emergency communications updates for equipment and processes, will also bite into municipal coffers. The Union of British Columbia Municipalities is asking if the federal government can help ease the burden of some of the costs and phase them in, Siegers said.

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