Planning for Our Future: TR?s New Zoning Bylaw

In last week?s issue of Tumbler Ridge News we reviewed the general scope and purpose of Zoning regulations, as well as the process that led to the development of our new Zoning Bylaw. To summarize, a Zoning Bylaw regulates land use within a municipal area for the purposes of:

(i) Ensuring the comfort and safety of residents;

(ii) Facilitating business activity, and;

(iii) Reinforcing the financial and environmental sustainability of the community.

In drafting the new Zoning Bylaw, guidance was taken from a variety of sources. These sources include public feedback gathered over several years, objectives brought forward by Council and changes to provincial legislation since our first bylaw governing land use was created.

We left off last week?s article by mentioning a series of key issues that the new zoning bylaw will address. This installment will focus on listing how the bylaw has accomplished this.

Issue: Seniors, special needs and affordable housing

There currently are no dedicated facilities for seniors or special needs people within the community, and affordable or low-income housing is also in short supply. The lack of these types of facilities within the District of Tumbler Ridge is a concern that Council would like to see addressed. It was felt that rather than add these types of facilities to existing zones, that a new zone be specifically created to address the needs of these people. This zone is identified as the RC1 zone (Residential Care Housing), which has been specifically created to accommodate structures designed for assisted living residences, community care facilities and residential care homes.

With a rapid increase in local property values, personal wealth and the corresponding demand for living space the lack of affordable housing within the District has become a mounting issue. The new draft of the zoning bylaw attempts to address this by making affordable housing more common within the District through regulations that permit and encourage secondary suites, bed and breakfasts, and other multiple family dwellings. With respect to secondary suites, the proposed bylaw has a number of general regulations in place to ensure that secondary suites are non-intrusive to the neighborhoods in which they are permitted. The new draft zoning bylaw also has a number of general regulations in place for the purpose of encouraging and controlling genuine bed and breakfast establishments by limiting the number of guestrooms, guests and their length of stay, while requiring the provision of additional parking.

Issue: Increasing the volume and variety of residential housing

When compared to other communities, particularly those that are much older, Tumbler Ridge does not have a wide variety of residential housing options. In particular, we have not had the ability to permit larger-sized lots for rural or estate-sized subdivisions. To respond to this need that has been articulated by the community we have created three new zones: R4 ? Rural Residential (Large Lot), R5 ? Rural Residential (Small Lot) and R6 ? Estate Residential.

Issue:> Temporary accommodations

Throughout the District, there is a much greater demand for short-term, temporary accommodation than the existing supply can handle. This includes accommodation for boarders and lodgers, as well as secondary suites, bed and breakfasts, and short-term rental accommodation. Some of the concerns expressed by the District with respect to boarders and lodgers include the presence of daily or weekly rentals in private dwellings. The new draft of the zoning bylaw attempts to address the lack of temporary accommodation by permitting boarders and lodgers in single-family dwellings without secondary suites, while establishing regulations that eliminate daily and weekly rentals from occurring in residential neighbourhoods.

Issue: Parking (residential/commercial)

There are a number of issues in Tumbler Ridge that relate to parking; including poor signage, vehicles not being fully parked within driveways, unpaved driveways, the reduction in parking spaces as a result of the District?s beautification plan, and the lack of parking for large vehicles. While some of these issues are enforcement issues, the draft zoning-bylaw attempts to address those issues that it has the ability to regulate.

The proposed bylaw has a section that deals specifically with off-street parking and loading. In these sections, regulations exist that:

?Require all residential, commercial and public and institutional driveways to be surfaced with a permanent surface of asphalt;

?Have made adjustments to the off-street parking requirements for all permitted uses;

?Permit home-based businesses to have only one (1) additional parking space, and;

?Require that single-family dwellings with a secondary suite provide one (1) additional parking space. (continued page 7)

For new commercial developments, it is proposed that the District update its cash-in-lieu of parking fees to reflect today?s construction costs and that new developments are required to provide more parking to accommodate the needs of our current population.

Issue: Home-based business

Home-based business represents a substantial, and important portion of our local economy. The District recognizes this and would like to continue to support its growth throughout the community. Saying that however, they must be regulated in a balanced way to ensure that:

(i)Their activities do not interfere with the comfort and enjoyment of residential living, and;

(ii)They are not provided with unfair advantages when compared to businesses in the commercial core.

The issues surrounding home-based businesses relate to parking, unsightly premises, size of the business, and permitted businesses. As a result, the draft zoning bylaw attempts to address the home-based business related issues first by differentiating between home occupations and home industries. Secondly, the proposed bylaw specifies an updated list of permitted home occupations and home industries within the District. The proposed bylaw also addresses the size of home-based businesses, specifies hours of business, limits the number of visitors/customers a day, and identifies the amount of off-street parking that must be provided.

Issue: Manufactured housing

Through the proposed zoning bylaw the District not only attempts to facilitate the establishment of more diverse housing options, we also wished to encourage the development of homes that would contribute to the permanency of the community. As a result, specific directions were established to regulate manufactured housing in Tumbler Ridge. These regulations include:

·Differentiation between two types of manufactured homes – mobile and modular;

·With the exception of the proposed Mobile Home Park (MHP) zone, all manufactured housing is to be on a permanent foundation;

·Specifying adherence to CSA standards for all modular housing;

·Establishment of an age limit specifying that any manufactured housing (mobile or modular) of 10 years at the time it is set up in Tumbler Ridge, and;

·Establishing a minimum width requirement of 20 feet for new mobile homes.

Despite the length of this article, a great deal more information could have been included. An extended version of this article can be found online at www.TumblerRidge.ca. just follow the Zoning Bylaw link in the NEW TO THE SITE section. As we move towards finalizing the bylaw, we would like to hear your thoughts about what is being proposed. Whether positive or negative, please ensure to bring your feedback forward. Be sure to utilize the online feedback form and/or post something on the discussion forum in the Residents section at www.TumblerRidge.ca/forum/.

Once again, for those of you who prefer a hard copy of the written word, please keep your eye out for a newsletter to be delivered to your door that will provide the same information.

Please feel free to direct any questions you have to Ray Proulx ? Economic Development Officer at 242-4242 ext.225 or edo@dtr.ca.