Delta city council has voted to remove an extra step in the development process for new homes, duplexes and major additions to existing homes in North Delta.
Following a public hearing and vote by council Monday night (Dec. 10), homeowners building or renovating their property in North Delta will no longer have to go through a form and character review to obtain a development permit in addition to a building permit.
The city introduced the design guidelines in 2004 to consider aspects such as roof lines, second-storey setbacks, massing, minimizing the loss of privacy to neighbouring yards, landscaping and tree retention.
Scrapping the form and character review will save homeowners time and money. Residents in Ladner and Tsawwassen could receive a building permit in 10 to 30 days but residents in North Delta would have to wait up to 120 days to receive a development and building permit under the previous rules.
North Deltans would also have to pay an extra $810 to apply for a development permit, would need to modify their design based on city staff comments and pay $310 for each amendment.
Many residents spoke in favour of removing the form and character review at the public hearing, to resounding applause from those in attendance.
During the hearing at North Delta’s Kennedy Seniors’ Recreation Centre, Coun. Alicia Guichon said she was quite disturbed to hear about the timeline difference.
“Twenty-four weeks compared to two to six weeks … I would see as unacceptable to builders and people in the business. If you’re holding onto land it’s just money wasted,” she said.
“We should be letting the members of our community decide what their homes should look like,” Coun. Dylan Kruger said. He also spoke about the the concerns voiced by North Delta residents feeling like “second class citizens.”
“We’re one citizenry and the guidelines should be be consistent for everybody across Delta,” he said.
Coun. Lois Jackson said “we’ve worked hard to get North Delta the way it looks today and we’ve done it through bylaws like this. I don’t quite agree with people who say we are second class citizens in North Delta. We aren’t, as far as I’m concerned.”
Council passed the bylaw to eliminate the review 5-1, with Jackson voting against.