The proposed zoning bylaw would require all properties containing secondary suites to have parking to the side or the rear of the house. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Delta zoning bylaw could see changes following council discussion

Delta councillors have asked for staff reports on suite parking, the North Delta housing cap

Delta council has decided its proposed zoning bylaw is being put on hold while staff look into a number of amendments requested by council.

“I think all of us here heard loud and clear that there are things they would like to see changed,” Counc. Ian Paton said about the public hearing on Jan. 30.

At the public hearing, residents from all areas of Delta shared their opinions on the proposed zoning bylaw. Many of these residents were opposed to the bylaw, saying that the restrictions on the subdivision of properties and the addition of secondary suites were detrimental to housing affordability.

Related: North Deltans ‘second-class citizens’ in new zoning bylaw, residents say

The public hearing also saw many residents speaking out against the long-standing housing cap in North Delta, which adds a restriction to the size of houses in North Delta. Ladner and Tsawwassen do not have this additional size cap.

During the Feb. 5 council meeting, councillors looked at amendments that addressed some, but not all, of those concerns.

For Counc. Bruce McDonald, secondary suite parking was his biggest concern and the first thing he suggested be amended. In the current bylaw, properties with secondary suites would be required to have a parking space at the side or the back of the property for a vehicle.

“I don’t see the logic of having people trying to go down the side of the house … because the impact is huge,” McDonald said. “It seems to me that parking in the front of the house should be an acceptable option.”

Counc. Robert Campbell agreed.

“We’ve done ourselves kind of a disservice by looking at notching out a corner of the house to provide parking around the side,” he said. “I do believe we can provide other options … and I do not believe it is such an imposition on our parking issues that we would not be able to accommodate parking in such a way.”

All councillors were in favour of having secondary suite parking revisited in a staff report, and wanted to explore other options for parking. Counc. Heather King wanted to make sure the parking spot was specifically dedicated to the secondary suite and “not absorbed into the driveway.”

McDonald also requested that the 11 metre subdivision limit remain in the bylaw. This kind of amendment would require another public hearing, because it relates to density. The Ladner limit is already 12 metres based on its area plan, so it can’t be changed, but the 11 metre limit would apply to North Delta and Tsawwassen properties.

Again, all the councillors were in support of the motion to change the limit in order to increase the housing stock in the area. Paton talked about driving through North Delta, and seeing some of the newer homes on subdivided lots.

“Sure, they’re a bit narrower than we’re used to, but they’re beautiful new homes and certainly add to the area,” Paton said.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson asked that staff bring back numbers on what this limit might mean for Delta’s utilities capacity, which would determine how many properties could be feasibly subdivided.

McDonald’s final motion was to ask for a report on the size of accessory buildings, and why they were so limited in size.

Again, all councillors were supportive of the motion.

“We want people to park their cars in their garage,” Campbell said. “I think we’re being counterproductive when we’re being to restrictive on the size of accessory buildings.”

Counc. Sylvia Bishop requested that the North Delta housing cap be removed from the zoning bylaw, which would trigger another public hearing if it was amended.

Counc. Jeannie Kanakos and King were strongly in favour of the removal of the housing cap.

“I believe it’s inappropriate to have different caps for different parts of our community,” Kanakos said.

Campbell said he was also in favour of a review of the cap, but didn’t think looking at it as discriminatory was effective.

“I’m very reticent to say we’re discriminating in different neighbourhoods by having a housing cap in North Delta,” he said.

“All zoning is discriminatory. All zoning,” he continued. “I think approaching it from that perspective is not the right way to look at it.”

The reports from Delta staff on these proposed amendments will be brought forward at the Feb. 19.

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