Third time’s not a charm for proposed zoning bylaw

Residents attended a special public hearing on a proposed zoning bylaw and raise concerns.

The Town of Golden held a special public hearing on June 26 at the Town Office in regards to the proposed Zoning Bylaw 1294.

According to Gary Smith, Manager of Development Services Town of Golden, staff has been working for two years to have a completely up to date bylaw for council to consider.

The bylaw has the potential to influence many different aspects of proposed developments in Golden.

Smith explained the process started in 2010 which has included two public open houses, one public hearing and information posted on the Town’s website since January.

“The proposed zoning reflects recent changes in the best land use practices,” Smith said.

Smith explained that changes in uses where zone changes are being brought in will be grandfathered in over time. “They will be allowed to continue until the use ceases for a period of six months or more,” Smith said.

Smith went on to add, “Though as planners we strive to have a bylaw that serves everyone’s needs, the document is a fine balance representing and reflecting the aspirations of the residents, business community and other uses,” Smith said.

The public was then given a chance to share it’s  views on the proposed bylaw.

The first member of the gallery to speak was co-owner of Kicking Horse Interiors, Andrew Commons.

“There are some very fine words there Gary (Smith). There is just one small word which was missing and that was viability. That was the most important word that we have to take into consideration when looking at this bylaw,” Commons said.

He questioned how the new regulations would affect costs of new business structures to be built in the future in Golden.

Commons went on to point out new regulations dealing with landscaping, parking stalls and issues with commercial delivery along with other development issues would drive up costs for new businesses which he felt would ruin the viability of any business.

He also raised concerns about businesses which are only open seasonally and may be closed long enough for the new rules to then apply based on changes in zoning. Commons also felt the Town should have come to local businesses to discuss the changes. “Rather than putting barriers up you should have a situation where barriers are not there in the first place. As a whole community we should be looking at how we can improve our lives by improving our overall situation,” Commons said.

In the end he said he was happy with the meeting and “I do appreciate a lot of the sentiments in the new bylaw are well thought out. There are a lot of good things in there but the viability of a lot of what is in there simply is not going to work,” Commons said.

Local resident Keith Hern said, “This particular document is infinitely better than what we started with two years ago,” Hern said. “What is needed now is a review of the details.”

Hern brought up that some of the changes which are being proposed in reference to changes to certain zones are redundant along with clarity on rule changes between integrated secondary suites and secondary class dwellings.

Other issues brought up at the meeting varied from a concern of having commercial zones backing up onto residential sites and questions over where the benefit was to changing the zoning designation to certain areas.

Many of those in attendance requested the third reading not take place  to give staff the chance to look at the issues brought up at the hearing.

After some discussion during the regular council meeting council decided the zoning bylaw should be sent back to staff to look at the issues brought up by the public during the special public hearing. This means if changes are made there will have to be another public hearing in the future dealing with the zoning bylaw.

“Given that there has been information brought forward this evening…it would be beneficial to me not to move this reading because there are things I do not fully understand,” said Councillor Caleb Moss. “I have no intention of quashing the bylaw or getting rid of it. I think taking more time addressing some of the issues brought up this evening would be useful.”

Councillor Chris Hambruch agreed and felt it was important to thank those people who came out to the special meeting and raise their concerns.

Staff said they would work with the public to look at the concerns and return with options in the future.