As Salt Spring’s Local Trust Committee (LTC) prepares for its October meeting this week, Bylaw 530 is on its plate once again, bringing the potential legalization of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) into renewed focus — and it’s anybody’s guess how trustees will proceed.
Bylaw 530 seeks to increase Salt Spring’s housing stock by changing zoning regulations to permit ADUs on a number of properties across the island. An ADU is defined as a distinct and separate unit from a principal dwelling structure, with its own cooking and washroom facilities and its own entrance. The most recent version of Bylaw 530 would add ADUs as a permitted use in limited and specific zoned areas.
Back in June, staff were given wide-ranging direction from trustees — including a request to “identify options for further amendments” to the proposed bylaw that take into account both the multitudinous feedback garnered from several public events and further information gleaned from staff research.
The result is a late 26-page addendum to the Thursday, Oct. 12 meeting agenda. Planners have returned with a number of recommendations and comments.
While the previously considered version of Bylaw 530 would “rezone 5,002 properties” to allow for a secondary suite or ADU, according to the report, zoning is merely the “land use” portion of a long list of requirements to actually build one.
“Those units may still be subject to siting requirements, building permitting, and risk management measures if constructed in hazard lands or environmentally sensitive lands,” reads the report.
Further, staff consultation with legal counsel seems to indicate there are potential legal pitfalls, noting it is “unclear [whether] the actions of advancing proposed Bylaw 530 would be vulnerable to court challenge.”
With these findings — alongside what Tsawout First Nation representatives regard as “conversations … not comprising engagement or consultation,” according to the report — staff are recommending a “blended” approach to the bylaw. That would include options to reduce the scope of effects by shrinking the number of parcels affected, with staff proposing several ways to accomplish that, including changing what criteria are used to decide which properties are subject to the bylaw, as well as considering a “spot rezoning” structure for the plan, where site-specific applications could be considered one at a time.
Regardless of how the LTC decides to proceed, staff are recommending the bylaw be referred to the Islands Trust Executive Committee for comment — likely to test the waters for whether that body would in fact approve it — and have those comments brought back to a later LTC meeting for consideration. The LTC meets at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at SD64’s Learning Hub conference room, 122 Rainbow Rd. in the lower level of the former middle school. Bylaw 530 is currently on the agenda for 2 p.m.