Property owners’ rights affected by Bylaw 500

Council will review and revise bylaw which was adopted in 2011

Sooke Zoning Bylaw 500, adopted in November 2011, is fatally flawed and will be rewritten.

Mayor Wendal Milne said there are two obvious flaws in the bylaw requirements. One of them is the lack of proper advertising for two consecutive weeks prior to any public meetings, and the other is a requirement to advise affected residents of proposed changes to density.

“This wasn’t done and really the bylaw becomes invalid,” said Milne.

The public consultation process consisted of a two-week online survey in March, 2011; an open house on April 4, 2011 at the Seniors’ Centre which consisted of a poster board presentation from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; another poster board presentation on April 4 from 4 to 7 p.m. at SEAPARC, to catch parents as they drop and pick up their children; and on April 14, a poster board presentation as part of a larger District of Sooke Open House, showcasing various initiatives by the district.

At the time, an advertisement in the Sooke News Mirror quoted Mayor Janet Evans. “The consultants have worked really hard to listen to what the staff and community representatives had to say about the Zoning Bylaw,” said Mayor Evans. “So far, it is looking good. The test will be how the community responds to it…”

The ad also stated that during the public consultation process, all the changes will be highlighted, so members of the public can clearly identify what is different in the new bylaw.

Milne said Bylaw 500  took away property owners’ rights and affected property values. He said there is also an issue with larger rural lots and what is allowed to be built on them. Milne stated that people should get what they had before Bylaw 500 was adopted.

“We are also looking at new zones in the town core to encourage growth.

“There is no way we can fill the whole area with commercial and residential,” said Milne. “Quite clearly the OCP contradicts itself. It is visionary and should be more general. It’s a frustrating and expensive process… full of a whole bunch of anomalies.”

He said the rewrite of the bylaw will cost approximately $50,000.

Milne said advice was received form the district’s lawyer to repeal Bylaw 500.

Public open houses will be held in November and December/January and a public hearing will follow.

“We hope to have it done by the end of January,” said the mayor.

Councillor Rick Kasper said the adoption of Bylaw 500 in November 2011 was “the last vestiges of a dying administration to finish up business.”

He also questioned why zoning was changed and why permitted uses were changed.