The Delta zoning bylaw in its original form drew significant opposition from some members of the community. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Amended Delta zoning bylaw moves forward

Suite parking now allowed in front yards, but the North Delta housing cap remains in place

Delta’s new zoning bylaw is one step closer to implementation, albeit with some key changes.

Council gave the bylaw third reading at Monday night’s meeting (Feb. 19), including amendments that would allow front yard parking for secondary suites and increase the size limit for accessory buildings.

Previously, at its Feb. 5 meeting, council had asked staff to report back on a number of requested amendments, including removing the North Delta housing size cap, changing rules around secondary suite parking, removing the 12 metre subdivision limit and changing rules around the size of accessory structures.

On Feb. 19, staff recommended that some, but not all, of those changes be incorporated as amendments to the zoning bylaw.

Suite parking, accessory buildings amended

One part of the proposed bylaw that was amended concerned secondary suite parking — a contentious issue during the public hearing.

In the proposed zoning bylaw, secondary suite parking would have been restricted to the side and rear of the property. Many homeowners found this restrictive, particularly for existing houses with layouts that didn’t allow for parking at the side or back.

The amended regulations allow for vehicle parking in the front yard of the property — however, they retain all the other requirements for secondary suite (a minimum lot width of 15 metres, two enclosed parking spaces for the primary residence, unobstructed access to the suite parking and at least 50 per cent front yard landscaping).

“Removing the restriction on secondary suite parking returns to a balanced approach,” Counc. Jeannie Kanakos said. “I think this is a more flexible approach, and the same on the limit on accessory buildings.”

In the bylaw as originally proposed, accessory structures such as garden sheds and workshops were limited to a maximum size of 10 square metres. The amendment removed this restriction, and regulations from the original bylaw (a floor exemption of 20 square metres, one permitted plumbing fixture and a required covenant for structures bigger than 20 square metres) were reinstated.

Minimum lot width to be changed later

Council also discussed reducing the minimum lot width for subdivision to 11 metres, down from the 12 metres proposed in the bylaw. However, staff recommended this change be made after the zoning bylaw was approved, because additional public hearings and consultations will have to be made, as it relates to community density.

In the meantime, however, applications for 11 metre lots would continue to be accepted and processed.

North Delta housing cap in limbo for now

Removing the North Delta housing cap, although discussed by councillors and staff, also did not make it into the zoning bylaw for its third reading. Instead, staff recommended that a work program and consultation strategy be drafted and brought forward sometime between March and May.

At the public hearing, residents spoke about how the housing cap made North Deltans “second-class citizens” within the city. Counc. Sylvia Bishop brought up some of those comments at the Feb. 19 council meeting.

“It’s difficult to sit and listen and have residents make comments alleging or saying that such a housing cap is racist,” she said. “None of us want to hear that kind of language, and certainly none of us want to be associated with that language.”

Bishop went on to say that the amendments included in the bylaw for third reading “show that council has listened to the concerns that were raised by the public at the public hearing.”

“To have adopted the bylaw with the amendments is to acknowledge some of the changes … will now be done. Except the housing cap,” she continued. “We can’t wait another 15 years, as we have to finally get a new bylaw adopted. I’m hoping that this can be done in a short and effective time frame.”

Director of community planning and development Marcy Sangret didn’t give a time frame on how long it would take for the housing cap to potentially be removed, only saying that a report would be brought forward in the near future (sometime between March and May) that would look at the issue.

That staff report would also include an analysis of what removing the housing cap would mean for the community, make comparisons between housing sizes in different areas of Delta and look at how to bring information about the housing cap removal to the community.

Staff suggested this work could also address the North Delta development permit process which, although not a part of the zoning bylaw, was the subject of a number of comments at the public hearing.



grace.kennedy@northdeltareporter.com

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