Monday, April 15, 2024
April 15, 2024

Divided Trust committee advances ADU plan

Development of a path toward “legal” accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on Salt Spring is moving ahead, possibly as fast as provisions of the Local Government Act allow — and Salt Spring Island’s Local Trust Committee (LTC) is using every procedural tool in the book to swiftly launch a plan meant to increase housing stock. 

The course set, perhaps counterintuitively, included passing a resolution to “proceed no further” with the just-downsized Bylaw 530, which envisioned a small-scale map-based approach for ADU zoning, showing few properties where they would be allowed, but contemplating a streamlined “spot zoning” pilot project for islanders to request their property be added to that map.  

But while Bylaw “530-Lite,” as trustee Laura Patrick had nicknamed it, was officially abandoned at the LTC’s Dec. 14 meeting, the functionally identical Bylaw 537 appeared in its place — this time introduced specifically noting the LTC would not hold a public hearing, a move allowed since the bylaw was consistent with the island’s official community plan.  

And, with public notification to indicate a first reading was incoming at a yet-to-be-scheduled special meeting — and with a stated intent to complete second and third readings at the same event — the new bylaw could be finalized in near-record time, after which the “spot zoning” applications could conceivably begin. 

But trustee Jamie Harris, long an ardent supporter of ADU provisions, said he was concerned the “spot zoning” would have too many procedural hoops to jump through to be considered truly streamlined.  

“I don’t trust this process,” said Harris. “I’m definitely afraid that the second part of this, the pilot project, will not anywhere near encompass what it needs to.”

Harris specifically called out the potential for what he thought would be unreasonable “proof-of-water” requirements; neither those requirements nor any others have yet been specified, although Harris had earlier expressed skepticism on different agenda items surrounding a project charter.  

“I would propose that we try to expedite the OCP [revision] process,” said Harris. “Let’s fix the OCP and put the original Bylaw 530 through.” 

Harris had earlier lamented that the OCP revision was going to take too long, and had pressed for finding a way to shorten the process timeline. Planners said the regulatory requirements for amending an OCP demanded specific steps, none of which could be skipped in ways that might meaningfully shorten the time needed. 

The Bylaw 537 meeting will be held by Jan. 23.

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