1) Height and Density

    a) Are the height and footprint restrictions for the existing R2 (Bylaw No. 25) changing?

    The existing R-2 zone is changing to the R-4 under the new Zoning Bylaw. Height will change from 10.5 m (three storeys) to 8.5 m (two storeys). Lot coverage is changing from 40% to 45%.

    b) The 8.2 m height for buildings in the proposed R1 zone seems to be a challenge for houses built on steep slopes (as in Tuwanek). Does this height refer to the total height or does it exclude basements?

    The maximum height will be 8.5 m in the proposed R1 zone. The calculation of height will change from lowest grade to average grade to accommodate properties on steeper slopes more fairly. The height calculation will not include basements below grade.

    c) Are there height and/or density changes for properties originally designated R1 (Zoning Bylaw No. 25) that will now be designated R2 (Zoning Bylaw No. 580)?

    The change from R1 to R2 will decrease minimum lot size from 2,000 m2 to 900 m2 and maximum height from 10.5 m to 8.5 m. The OCP included language to direct single-family homes to 2 storeys, and this update brings the bylaw in-line with the OCP. At the same time the new bylaw will change the way height is measured, moving to average grade and away from lowest grade.

    d) In the Summary of Bylaw Zoning Districts, page 9, "the RM1 zone expands on the height and density allowed in the R4 and R5 districts". What does this mean? Would it change scale or density rules?

    The residential zoning districts can be understood on a continuum, moving from R1 to RM1, with RM1 being the highest-complexity multi-family housing. The way density is being calculated is also evolving and the new bylaw is moving towards calculating density using floor area ratio (FAR). 

    Respecting height variances, the new bylaw should create less of a need for height variance. Variances still have a purpose, variances allow site-site exemptions where there is a need or where it’s found to be beneficial. 

    e) Why would a lot have been rezoned from allowing two homes to now only allowing one home?

    This new bylaw update is bringing the zoning bylaw in-line with the OCP. Following the OCP, the new bylaw limits the size of unserviced lot that can support a second dwelling. Generally, the change is reducing the size of the second dwelling to a smaller detached accessory dwelling unit rather than a loss of a second dwelling completely.  

    The new bylaw also allows many new homes to build a detached accessory dwelling unit (such as a cottage or laneway house). This means that most properties will see an increase in density with the new allowance of cottages and detached accessory buildings.

    f) Does the new zoning bylaw create more or less opportunities for densification compared to the previous bylaw?

    The new zoning bylaw does create far more opportunities for additional dwelling units.  The most significant densification will be seen in new opportunities for infill housing. This level of density is supported by the OCP but was never adopted into the bylaw.

    g) Given the current housing crisis, how is the need for increased housing addressed in the proposed bylaw changes when certain areas are moving to reduced density zonings?

    The areas that are seeing a decrease in density are largely unserviced properties that are less than 4,000 m2. Many of these properties will now be eligible for a Detached Accessory Dwelling (also known as a laneway house), meaning that a second home can still be built on the property, just on a smaller scale. This change is in alignment with the OCP, as it moves density and development away from the unserviced parts of the District.

    h) Can you clarify/confirm that any subdivision within the RU2 zone would require 100 ha of land?

    Yes, that’s correct.  This zone is in alignment with the OCP. The 100ha limit on subdivision reflects the rural nature of properties zones RU2.

2) Specific Zoning Changes

    a) Could you please say more about the change in the Sandy Hook Clear-cut area from R-3 to RU-2? What does that mean for residential development in that area?

    The intent of the RU2 zone is resource development, and the District would like to see forestry management in that part of Sandy Hook. This area is not viewed as part of the residential land base.

    b) In the CD1 zone, has there been any study on the golf course, given the environmental impacts of a golf course with frequent water shortages each year?

    The CD1 zone was approved in the early 2000’s, and the land was recently purchased by the shíshálh Nation. It’s unclear if they will choose to develop it under the existing zoning, but the fairest process was to carry over the previous zone into the new bylaw.

    c) Are there any communities that saw significant changes to their previous zoning from Bylaw 25?

    The most significant changes will be obvious in the serviced West Sechelt area, the OCP enables infill in that neighbourhood, and the bylaw implements that change. The new bylaw also allows infill on smaller lots, which will be a clear and obvious change with the new bylaw update. The bylaw also implements a change made by the OCP, preventing two large units on smaller un-serviced lots. Instead, Bylaw No. 580 will allow a smaller detached accessory dwelling on many new lots.

    d) Are strata/condo buildings zoned as apartments?

    The tenure of a development is typically determined through negotiation or by the developer at the outset of the project. The Province also recently amended its regulations to allow rental only zoning, which is another option for the District going forwards. The District is looking at incentives to encourage the development of new rental housing.

    e) Under RU1 zoning "This zone allows limited agricultural and residential uses on large rural lots that are outside of the ALR, meaning that this land is not protected by the provincial government" in that statement, what protection is being lost?

    There was no dedicated AG zone in the previous bylaw, and creating a new AG zone is part of the process of modernizing the bylaw reflecting new ALR regulations. It was also important to distinguish rural lands and agriculture lands in the new bylaw. If land is in the ALR there is a suite of provincial regulations (ALR, Right to Farm, etc.) that apply.  It still possible and desirable to use land outside the ALR for agriculture, but such lands are not protected by the same provincial regulations.

    f) Will some properties be grandfathered in if the new zoning doesn't allow for what exists there now?

    In planning terms that would be described as lawful non-conforming, which is a use that was once allowed before the zoning changed. It is possible to continue with that use so long as it does not cease for 6-months or more. The same is true for density and siting, it’s possible to maintain a building with a non-conforming setback, but it’s not possible to expand further into the setback — the non-conformity is not allowed the expand.

    g) Why are there limitations for 90 m2 accessory dwelling units? Why are garage plus suites not an option when there is a parking issue in some areas on side streets?

    90 m2 is a common standard for Detached Accessory Dwellings. Using this standard brings Sechelt in-line with other similar jurisdictions. 

    A garage or workshop can be included as part of the Detached Accessory dwelling, but the floor space of the garage or workshop will count towards the maximum limit for the Detached Accessory dwelling.  The District is considering the potential to slightly increase the maximum size of a detached accessory dwelling unit.

    The following table shows accessory dwelling regulations for similar sized communities:

    Town of Gibsons
    Garden Suite
    90 m2
    City of Powell River
    Carriage House
    * 90 m2
    District of Lantzville
    Carriage House
    * 90 m2
    SCRD (Proposed)
    Auxiliary Dwelling
    * 90 m2

    * Does not include floor area used for garage.

    h) What recourse do current homeowners have if the proposed zoning changes are approved and the plans people have for developing their properties are no longer allowable?

    While property ownership inherently grants certain privileges, other privileges are granted or denied in accordance with decisions made by governments. Local governments need to make land use decisions that weigh the different aspects of public interest. In this case, Council made land use decisions in the OCP that struck a balance between these differing priorities, staff were then directed to draft zoning that met the intention of these decisions. 

    At the same time, when zoning regulations change, the Local Government Act (LGA) allows conflicting or non-conforming uses to remain, so long as the use is not discontinued for a period of 6 months. Part 14 of the LGA discusses non-conforming uses.

3) Parking and Transportation

    a) In the proposed C4 zone, what is the required number of Commercial and Visitor (clients, shoppers, etc.) parking spaces in relation to the number of required spaces for the residential units that will be above the commercial units.

    For mixed use buildings the Zoning Bylaw’s parking regulations section dictates the number of parking spaces based on the use of the building (commercial / residential / etc.). A building in the C4 zone that includes commercial and residential uses would have a combination of the required parking spaces for each use. Visitor parking spaces are either accounted for separately or included within the requirement for the specific use. There are tables in Zoning Bylaw No. 580 that outline the parking space requirements for each different land use.

    b) How does the new bylaw plan for electric car chargers, bike parking and scooter parking, specifically in new commercial development (C4)? How are you planning scooter and bike parking that is suitable for an aging population?

    Staff recognize that the bylaw’s parking regulations are out of date, and we will be taking stock of parking needs in the near term.  Downtown focused planning work coupled with parking analyses would inform future updates to the parking regulations section of Bylaw No. 580. Requiring electric chargers in new development is also a consideration and may be looked at under a future parking analysis. We will be considering the additional size, mobility and security needs that come with parking electric scooters and bikes.

    c) Are there any plans to build a road from the new development on Derby Rd, West Sechelt to downtown? Is this part of this new zoning?

    Any new roads will be part of the Transportation Master Plan, the zoning bylaw is not the best planning tool to dictate new roads. This work is currently ongoing, and any new high-level connections will be evaluated through the master plan.

4) Short-Term Rentals

    a) Is there any change in restriction on short term rentals? How will the Short-Term Rental changes be incorporated into the zoning bylaws

    A concurrent review of the short-term rental (STR) regulations is currently taking place, staff presented to Council on June 15th with the proposed STR regulation. The finalized regulations will be moved into the bylaw during second reading and will be adopted with Bylaw 580 in the fall.  Related updates to the business licence bylaw and bylaw enforcement regulations (ticketing) would also be undertaken.

    b) How many short-term rentals are expected?

    The District is proposing different categories of STRs. A fixed number of temporary use permits will be set aside for unhosted STRs that are operating outside of a primary residence. All other categories of STRs will not require a temporary use permit.

    c) How will STR infringements be enforced?

    The District has not yet decided on an enforcement mechanism, we will look to balance the priorities of the STR regulations, with the realities of District staffing and enforcement capacity.

5) Other

    a) How does the W-1 zone align with the OCP statement that no new private docks will be allowed?

    W1 applies to all waterfront land, and any new dock goes through an approval and referral process to obtain tenure.

    b) The proposed zoning bylaw references different areas within the CD1 area that have different permitted uses and restrictions. These areas are not reflected in the current zoning map. Is there a map of the areas referenced in the document for CD1?

    This CD-1 development reflects what was approved by council in the early 2000s, its unclear if this site plan is still viable or if it will still be built as approved. The updated bylaw carries over the map from the previous bylaw showing the subareas in the CD1 zone.  

    c) What impacts will there be on infrastructure (water, sewers)?

    The District works closely with the SCRD to ensure that future development is taking place within the parameters of the Sunshine Coast’s water infrastructure capacity. District staff have also worked with and will continue to work with the SCRD as they undergo their growth management planning process.

    d) Why was an updated Official Community Plan not done?

    Reopening the Official Community Plan (OCP) is a larger project outside of the scope of this bylaw update. An OCP review and update is on the upcoming workplan for District staff. This zoning bylaw update is meant to be a smaller update, which modernizes an outdated document and brings the District’s zoning into alignment with the land use and policies approved by the 2011 OCP.  

6) Process

    a) What is the timeframe for the draft of the 580 bylaw to officially replace Bylaw 25? What is the best way to follow up on specific property questions and concerns with the new proposed bylaw?

    Staff will be reporting back to Council in July. The reports back to council will address referral comments from external agencies as well as comments from the public engagement process.  Staff will propose changes to the bylaw for Council consideration of Second Reading in July. The best way to reach staff is through the Planning department’s contact email: planning@sechelt.ca

    b) Why is this update happening now?

    The District’s existing bylaw was adopted in the late 1980’s and is becoming increasingly out of date. This update brings the bylaw in-line with the District’s OCP. Making these changes will allow us to more easily align the OCP and Zoning Bylaw as we modify the OCP going forward.

    c) Where can you find calendar dates?

    Key dates are available on the District’s Have Your Say Page.

    d) Did the Community Associations get an official referral?

    Yes, the Community Associations and all other referral groups were given a full 60 days to submit comments.