After a “live” reaction to zoning regulation 722, employees made amendments related to housework and residential farming. After obtaining the approval of the full council committee, the regulation is expected to pass the third reading and approval in October.
Just two weeks after members of the public raised their concerns about the Bylaws of the proposed Sunshine Coast Regional District 722 in a “live” hearing, staff submitted changes based on those comments to the Board of Directors.
At the September 22 full committee meeting, employees Jonathan Jackson and Yuli Siao said most of the concern heard was about the public consultation process, restrictions on housework, residential farming, and setbacks from the oceanfront waterfront.
Since the September 6 public hearing, where none of the 100 residents in attendance spoke in favor of Proposed Internal Division 722, staff members have been able to incorporate comments that do not affect density. On September 16, the Supreme Council for Reform and Development published a press release outlining the working group’s recommendations following the public hearing.
Home business customers limit removed
The most recent version of the proposed regulation (which replaces the decades-old Subdivision 310 regulation) includes amendments to home business and residential farming.
The commission relayed a staff recommendation to abolish the daily limit for customer visits and deliveries to businesses from home. This earlier restriction of six clients per day could have affected public events, particularly Art Crawl.
Asked the alternate director of District D, Tim Howard, about business from home indoors, regarding uses such as equestrian training. Employees said that businesses such as zoo playgrounds or equestrian-type uses are permitted as agricultural use and are considered different from household chores.
“It’s hard in these things to find regulations that are one-size-fits-all, but nonetheless still maintaining the residential character of the neighborhoods in which these businesses are primarily run. But that was the intent,” said Jackson.
The staff also made adjustments to the permitted size of a home business, changing it to the total floor area of all permitted ancillary buildings plus a maximum of 40 percent of the dwelling floor area on a plot. Halfmoon Bay Director and Committee Chair Lori Pratt spoke in favor of the update.
What the regulation means for birds, rabbits and bees
For birds, rabbits, and bees—residential farming known as AKA—staff recommended lowering the size threshold. A maximum of 10 birds (but without roosters) and rabbits, plus two beehives, are allowed on the plots from 1,000 m² to 1500 m². Areas of more than 1500 square meters will not have limits on poultry, hives or roosters. The press release issued on September 16 notes that according to the current zoning regulation 310, residential cultivation in plots smaller than 1,500 square meters is not allowed, and the new regulation will introduce a lot size class to allow such use.
“Nothing takes away from what anyone once had,” Jackson said in response to a question from District Manager A Leonard Lee about cocks.
I asked Pratt if hives could be considered for non-agricultural uses, such as environmental purposes rather than livestock, as she expressed concern about pollinator populations. Staff said the regulations were developed in line with best practices of other local governments and the Department of Agriculture, and said there were no regulations about bee attractants that people could have on their property, such as wildflowers. Jackson also added that many plots in the rural area exceed the allowable size for beekeeping.
Still custom setback 15 meters
The various measures related to density are expected to remain the same as from the previous version of the new regulation. These include increasing the allowable size of an additional housing unit to 90 square metres, allowing each single family home to have a sub-suite within the home of up to 55 square metres, and no longer having to be at least six meters wide.
For minimal setback from the ocean, structures at West Howe Sound, Roberts Creek, Halfmoon Bay and Elphinstone should be built at least 15 meters from the sea, up from the current setback of 7.5 metres. The 15-meter setback is already in effect in the Roberts Creek area, written into the bylaws of Gibson Town and Sechelt County, and recommendations for best practice recommendations for the Chesala nation considered. The agenda notes that implementing the requirements through Bylaw 722 establishes “a uniform standard for the construction of sites along the coastlines of the Sunshine Coast.”
Donna McMahon, director of Elphinstone, said anyone with a particular setback issue can always apply for a variance.
“This regulation, in effect, loosens restrictions on residential farming. It allows for roadside barriers to be put in, which we’ve had for years and years, and it’s really important. It’s part of our neighborhoods and part of whole residential farming, the local food,” McMahon said, adding She is relieved to move on. She said later in the meeting, referring to the people who have poultry, “I would much rather have these people have them.”[‘s uses] To be legal and stand by the wayside.”
With these changes given the green light by directors and not requiring a second public hearing, the committee referred the revised bylaws to the October 13 Board meeting for third reading and adoption.
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