Planning for Our Future: Tumbler Ridge?s New Zoning Bylaw

This is the final informational news article regarding the District?s proposed zoning bylaw, which is aimed at replacing the existing outdated Land Use Bylaw 12. We?ve chosen to focus the content of this installment on summarizing the feedback provided by various members of our community over the last few weeks. In addition to the previous two news articles our outreach consisted of an informational newsletter that was delivered door to door across town on November 8th and an extremely detailed posting on our website. Relatively speaking, there was a high level of response in the form of letters, emails, phone calls, one on one discussions and feedback form submissions. We appreciate the comments that were brought forward and applaud the people that took the time to share their perspectives on the proposed bylaw. Dealing strictly with those the comments provided by the public that fall within the scope and purpose of zoning bylaws, the summarized feedback revolved around the following issues:

·Driveway paving specifications of asphalt as the only material;

·Boarders and lodgers, including the number of boarders and lodgers permitted in a single family dwelling, the zones in which boarders and lodgers are permitted, and parking requirements;

·The minimum width for new mobile homes installed in the community;

·The availability of affordable housing, particularly with respect to small lots and small homes;

·Inconsistency in proposed parking regulations; and,

·Regulations pertaining to bed and breakfasts.

For this article we have summarized the direction taken in the zoning bylaw with respect to each of the issues identified by the public. This direction is as follows:

Driveway Paving Specifications: One of the concerns raised is that the proposed zoning regulations would not permit a property owner to surface his/her driveway with anything other than asphalt, concrete or another similar pavement. This, therefore, would exclude such elements as interlocking brick/paving stones, etc., both of which are hard surfaces and generally also permanent to the same extent as asphalt or concrete. We agreed that an adjustment to the regulation could easily be changed to expand the permanent surface options to include paving stones, interlocking brick, etc. This change has been made and will be reflected in the bylaw that is going to be brought to Council.

Boarders and Lodgers

The District of Tumbler Ridge has attempted to regulate boarders and lodgers in order to minimize the impact of this permitted use in residential neighbourhoods, while at the same time providing an option for affordable housing for temporary workers. In order to achieve these objectives, the following regulations have been implemented in the zoning bylaw:

·Boarders and lodgers are not permitted in single-family dwellings that already contain a secondary suite.

·Owners must reside within a home that is utilized by boarders and lodgers (owners must also reside within a home that contains a secondary suite, or has a bed and breakfast operating out of it).

·Requiring off-street parking spaces for each boarder and lodger that will be staying in a single-family dwelling. This means that a home with 3 boarders and lodgers will have to provide up to 5 off-street parking spaces, to a maximum of 15% of their total lot area, whichever is less.

There was a suggestion that single-family dwellings that wish to cater to boarders and lodgers be required to undertake a rezoning, or at the very least, obtain consent from immediate neighbours within a reasonable distance of the home.

The suggestion of a rezoning is appealing, as it would easily provide the District with the opportunity to monitor and regulate how many homes have boarders and lodgers. However, there are some drawbacks associated with a zone specifically for boarders and lodgers in single-family dwellings. The first is that one of the objectives of this zoning bylaw was to ensure that the type and number of zones was adequate for the District. While having too few zones will not meet the needs of residents and businesses within the community, having too many zones can become very cumbersome to manage and regulate. The suggestion of obtaining consent from neighbours may be more applicable, however, this may pose problems when residents move in or away from the area. The end result of this suggestion, even though it falls out of the scope of the new bylaw, is that the District is now exploring the establishment of a registration system for homes with boarders in lodgers. A registration system also makes sense from the perspective of public safety (I.e. Evacuation or fire response) and knowing just how large of a population that we are servicing.

Minimum Width Requirements for New Mobile Homes

There was a typo in the newsletter that was distributed which stated that the minimum width requirement for new mobile homes in the community was 6.1 m (20 ft). As a point of clarification, mobile homes with a minimum 4.9 metre (16 feet) width will be permitted in the Mobile Home Park (MHP) zone.

Affordable Housing

The issue of affordable housing is one that is present in every community. The District of Tumbler Ridge has attempted to make affordable housing more accessible for everyone, and in all areas of the community. This has been attempted by implementing the following regulations:

·Allowance of secondary suites in the R2 zone

·A Small Lot Residential zone (R1), which was present in the previous Land Use Bylaw, is again present in this new zoning bylaw. This zone permits single family residential lots with a minimum parcel size of 372 m2 and minimum principal building size of 60 m2, which is much smaller than the regular single family residential lots with a minimum parcel size of 475 m2 and minimum principal building size of 74 m2.

·Within the R1 and R2 zones, modular homes are permitted. Modular homes within the R1 and R2 zones are regulated to permit only those of a higher standard. This is accomplished through a minimum width requirement (6.1 m), maximum age restriction (10 years), and adherence to the applicable CSA standards. Many people are choosing modular homes because they are less expensive than purchasing or constructing a typical single family home. In addition to this, because of the shortage of skilled trades people in BC, construction times for a new home may be quite lengthy, whereas the construction requirements on a modular home are minimized due to its construction at a factory.


Some concerns were raised that there appeared to be inconsistencies in the parking requirements for homes with secondary suites proposed for the new bylaw. To clarify this point: a home that contains a secondary suite will have to have a total of three off street parking spaces. Two of these three parking spaces are for the primary residence, while the third parking space is for the secondary suite. In addition, those homes operating as bed and breakfasts must provide two parking spaces for the primary residence, plus an additional space for each guestroom provided. This could result in up to five parking spaces required for a bed and breakfast that has the maximum number of three guestrooms. However, the parking spaces are not permitted to utilize more than 15% of the total parcel area.

Bed and Breakfasts

Concerns were also raised about regulations proposed for the length of stay and the guest capacity of B&B?s in our community. Following discussions and some research, it was decided that the maximum length of stay in B&B?s could be raised to the provincial standard of 28. In order to accommodate the presence of families in these establishments, the capacity regulation was refined to a maximum of 6 adult guests. Finally, in order to establish a consistent standard throughout the community, licensed B&B?s will also have to be accredited through Tourism BC standards in order to operate in our town.

The next step for the bylaw is the official adoption process, which also includes a public hearing. There will be a meeting on December 5th for the first two readings of the bylaw, following that, a public hearing will be held to gather any remaining feedback people may have about the bylaw. If you are interested, please be sure to watch for the hearing postings. Copies of the bylaw will be posted online at and can be purchased at the Front Desk of Town Hall. As always, please feel free to direct any questions you have to Ray Proulx ? Economic Development Officer at 242-4242 ext.225 or