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Bylaw 500 will impact residential properties

District of Sooke planner Tracy Olsen - Pirjo Raits
District of Sooke planner Tracy Olsen
— image credit: Pirjo Raits

Proposed changes in Bylaw 500 to minimum lot sizes in Rural Residential Zones as well as setbacks and density in the Manufactured Home Park Zone (MHP) in Sooke has some residents wondering what the changes will do to their future plans.

Bylaw 500 is currently being revised and public input sought on a variety of changes.

On Nov. 13 District of Sooke council pondered the impacts of changes which came about when Bylaw 500, Sooke’s new zoning bylaw, was adopted in 2011.

Setbacks and density in the MHP zone in Bylaw 500 are different that in the previous CRD Bylaw 377 which proceeded Bylaw 500.

• Density increases by 2.3 units per hectare. Bylaw 377 19.7 units/ha; Bylaw 500 22 units/ha.

• Lot size increase of one hectare from the previous one hectare, Bylaw 500 2 hectares.

• Site coverage decreases of 5 to 10 per cent. Bylaw 377 coverage was 35 per cent plus 20 per cent car port; Bylaw 500 coverage is 45 per cent.

• Site size decreases by 50 sq. metres. Bylaw 377 325.15 sq. metres, Bylaw 500 275 sq. metres.

• Site width decreases 4.25 metres from 15.24 in Bylaw 377, to 11 metres in Bylaw 500.

Some of the changes in Bylaw 500 will only affect new developments. Council was asked for their interest in moving those changes forward.

There were concerns of limiting affordability by increasing the lot size to two hectares and the decreased distance in between units.

Mayor Wendal Milne asked, “Where is the protection for what people had?” He felt the site size should be retained at one hectare, the way it was before.

Reductions of minimum lot sizes in the Rural Residential Zone (RU4) were also under scrutiny by council. With the adoption of Bylaw 500, Councillor Herb Haldane said the bylaw made non-conforming properties all over Sooke and the zoning needed to be changed back to what it was. He felt property owners shouldn’t have to go to re-zone.

“I hope RU4 can be rectified,” he said.

He also said there was no reason to create 1,000 sq. metre lots outside the Sewer Specified Area.

Resident Brian Butler said he was concerned with the one-size fits all solution (in Bylaw 500).

“In Sooke we have a rural way of life... that’s the attraction to live here,” he said.

He said that if you take this to the logical conclusion you would end up both inside and eventually outside the SSA with 10 acre and quarter-acre residential lots and nothing in between. He added that the ruralness of Sooke would be lost with more small lots and there are already plenty of lots for the next five years.

“I don’t think that’s called good planning,” he said.

He called the changes in the RU4 zone “dangerous,” and stated, “It may be well intentioned legislation but it is ill-advised.”

Planner Tracy Olsen said many of the decisions were made because of regulations from the Vancouver Island Health Authority

Residents who feel they may be affected by changes to setbacks and density can have their say at the next public open house on Wednesday, Dec. 5 between 4 and 8 p.m. at the municipal council chambers. Presentations by staff will be made at 5 and 7 p.m.

Bylaw 500 is available for viewing or uploading on the District of Sooke website (www.sooke.ca).

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