District of Sooke

Sooke reviews outdated zoning bylaws

'There are a number of our bylaws that need to be rewritten,' says chief administrative officer Teresa Sullivan.

The District of Sooke has begun a major review of its bylaws that date as far back as 1999.

“There are a number of our bylaws that need to be rewritten,” said chief administrative officer Teresa Sullivan.

“Sooke is 15 years old and there has never been a major review of the bylaws.”

The district has 630 bylaws that guide everything from development to elections. Zoning bylaws, for example, dictate how land can be used, such as where buildings can go, how buildings may be used, lot sizes and dimensions, building heights and parking requirements.

Though bylaws have been tweaked over the years, district staff began a comprehensive review last week with the introduction of Bylaw 630, with proposed zoning amendments.

Bylaw 630 updates Bylaw 600, the district’s zoning bylaw, which makes changes to accessory dwelling units, micro brewery and artisan industries.

Several months will be spent consulting the public and stakeholders, as well as council and staff, on the bylaw review.

The result of those consultation will mean some bylaws will be rewritten others may be rescinded, Sullivan said.

Key goals of the review will be to reflect the district’s urban planning objectives and district standards, guidelines and policies.

Acting mayor Kerrie Reay expects significant change, simply because so much has changed since the first bylaws were enacted with the district’s incorporation in 1999.

“There are many contradictions between the [official community plan] and the zoning bylaws,” she said.

“Bylaws need to be reviewed and to make sure they’re current, that they apply in today’s environment and to make sure the bylaws complement one another and there isn’t any contradiction.”