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New Sooke zoning bylaw shelved over bad procedure

Oct 19 2012
Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne says the redraft should not have a significant effect on pending development. 

Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne says the redraft should not have a significant effect on pending development.

Photograph by: Darren Stone, Times Colonist , Times Colonist

Sooke's zoning bylaw has to be thrown out and a new one written after the district received legal advice saying there were deficiencies in both advertising and notification of property owners before it was adopted last November.

The process, which will involve open houses and a public hearing, could cost between $40,000 and $50,000 and won't be completed until early in the new year.

Mayor Wendal Milne doesn't expect the redraft of Bylaw 500 - which spells out all the zoning in the municipality - to have a significant effect on any pending development but said council would have to evaluate each application.

"We have the ability to withhold building permits if something is zoned and it's going to go ahead where there's going to be a change that might affect their ability to build. We've reviewed everything and there's nothing that's impacted by that right now," Milne said.

"We're confident we can get through this without really affecting or impeding anybody."

Milne and Coun. Rick Kasper, who chairs the district's finance committee, said the review of the bylaw was prompted by a number of residents coming forward saying that they did not know of or were opposed to changes that had been made to their property with the implementation of Bylaw 500.

Kasper said the advertising and notification didn't begin to meet minimum standards.

"It's a textbook example of what not to do. It's that bad," he said.

Lawyers said that made the bylaw invalid, Milne said.

Changes could be made to the bylaw before it is reintroduced, he said.

"We have to draft a new bylaw. It will have a lot of the ingredients of Bylaw 500, but it will correct what we feel were some of the wrongs or if peoples' properties were downsized, which affected their property rights and affected the values of their properties," he said.

The zoning bylaw took almost year to complete. The district began its review of the previous bylaw in late 2010 under the former council and introduced and passed it in the weeks leading up to the municipal election last November.

Kasper said spending $40,000 or $50,000 on the process is a bitter pill.

"It's money that we don't need to spend, especially on something like that. It's like in order to move forward, you've got to go back two steps."

The zoning bylaw replaced Bylaw 270 and was intended to reflect many aspects of Sooke's new Official Community Plan, including:

? concentrating density in the town centre, and within sewer serviced areas;

? introducing minimum frontages into all zones;

? updating the neighbourhood commercial zone for commercial nodes;

? upgrading the manufactured home park zone;

? creating a new zone for technical industrial business parks; and

? providing a range of residential zones with differing lot sizes.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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