From the Sept. 15, 2011 regular council meeting.
No one opposed the recommendation of amending Bylaw No. 493, Official Community Plan Amendment, for Atwater Landing (Grouse Nest) at 1424 Gillespie Rd. Council gave third reading and moved to approve the amendment.
The applicant applied to change the designation of the property from Rural Residential to Comprehensive Development. The proposed rezoning will primarily be for residential housing with limited local commercial space including a park designation, as well as access to the water for things like canoeing and kayaking, said municipal planner Gerard LeBlanc.
“They are looking at a full range of mixed multi-family residences from duplexes to apartments,” he said.
Coun. Ron Dumont said there was a need for some road improvement to the area, and Atwater president Doug Regelous replied there will be “a lengthy process before doing any work.”
The development will be “adjunct to Sooke, and will benefit the community,” said Regelous.
No speakers opposed the amendment of Bylaw No. 504, Zoning Amendment Bylaw (270-91) and Bylaw No. 505, 6826 Grant Road West Phased Development Agreement Authorization Bylaw 2011. Council gave third reading and the motion to pass the amendments was carried unanimously.
The applicant requested 6826 Grant Road West be rezoned from Village Residential 1 Zone (R-1) to a Medium Density Multi-Family Residential Zone (RM-3). Approximately 20 units are proposed subject to a Phased Development Agreement.
Council approved an applicant’s proposal to the Agricultural Land Commission with a recommendation of support for the subdivision of two houses at 1810 and 1820 Connie Road into a strata conversion.
The application is required because the proposal would sever the ALR land which runs along Veitch Creek, with a house on either side.
Development Variance Permit
Council approved the issuance of Development Variance Permit PLN000906 to allow living space on the ground level of a one-storey commercial building at 6580 Sooke Road. It was originally purchased by the owners in 1999 to be used as a chiropractor’s office with living quarters behind the office. At the time, the zoning bylaw allowed a residence to be attached to a commercial building. In 2002, the bylaw was amended to only allow residential use above the first floor in the C-2 zone.
The building was put up for sale last year and a potential buyer has made an offer to purchase the property with the condition that the living quarters be allowed to remain on ground level. The variance permit is to modify the required location of residential use on an upper floor.
Sooke resident Gail Hall said she doesn’t believe “the district should make it easier for people to sell their property,” and that it is not allowed to vary the use of the original intention of the property. LeBlanc replied “we’re not varying use, we’re varying the location of use. We permit upper floor residential use, we’re just moving it to the ground floor.”
Council gave third reading and moved to amend Bylaw No. 480, Sign Regulation Bylaw.
During the public input portion, Ellen Lewers asked whether a farm was permitted to display sandwich boards under the amended bylaw.
Mayor Janet Evans asked council and staff whether farm was classified as a home-based business. LeBlanc said a development variance permit should be required for a farm, but the issue was raised that a DVP costs several hundred dollars and that there should be some kind of exception depending on what the permit is for. Coun. Maja Tait said a permanent sign doesn’t make sense for some home businesses and farms that are seasonal, since they wouldn’t want customers potentially visiting during off-season.
Coun. Dumont inquired about whether illuminated signs were permitted. Tait said they are “not encouraged” but would be allowed for businesses like a bed and breakfast off the main road that would otherwise not be visible at night.
Lewers spoke again, and said that business is tough enough for farms as is, and there is no other alternative to attract business besides sandwich boards.
“The proliferation of signs are a a sign of the times,” she said.
Evans said sandwich boards for farms are still permitted until the bylaw is adopted, at which point farm owners should apply for a DVP.
Leblanc said, “A sign legally in existence at the time the bylaw is adopted, even if it doesn’t conform, is permitted as long as it’s kept tidy.”
Dave Mallett asked about homes that aren’t businesses but just have a display sign, for instance with a family name. Evans said “depends on if it’s on the home or at the front — it’s something we can look into, those kind of things can come later.”
Council approved a five-year wastewater management agreement with EPCOR Water Services and authorized the mayor and the chief administrative officer to go ahead.
CAO Even Parliament said there had been a lot of questions about the increased operating and maintenance cost of the agreement over the previous contract, and that everything is “attributed to growth and protecting the asset.” Approximately $300,000 of the new contract goes toward tipping fees (charges imposed by the waste processing facility), hauling, chemicals and operational performance; another $100,000 is for asset protection and growth planning; and an additional $30,000 for enhanced customer service.
“All capital, of course, will be paid for and directed by the district in the future as we move forward, meaning council can determine where the system wants to expand based on petitions or government grant or the will of the council of the day to use reserves or any other sources of funding,” said Parliament.
Coun, Herb Haldane asked how the district can pay for increased costs if projected revenue growth doesn’t occur. He pointed out last year the district ran a deficit in the budget, and wondered what will happen if a deficit occurs again. Parliament said in that scenario the district would have to increase parcel taxes and slash expenditures. Haldane opposed the agreement.
Council unanimously recommended staff prepare an Agricultural Plan for the District of Sooke.
LeBlanc said there isn’t a lot of agricultural land available, but there are a lot of people farming. The plan, which will cost $7,500 to prepare, is being headed by Elisabeth Nelson, district municipal engineer.
Coun. Haldane he hopes it will take into account the road networking that will be required.
Mutual Aid Agreement
Council temporarily tabled the endorsement of a five-year Mutual Aid Agreement with the City of Colwood and the Colwood Fire Rescue Service.