Whitehorse Daily Star

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RESIDENTS EXPRESS CONCERNS – Six written submissions have been made to the city expressing concerns over the proposed changes to zoning regulations.

Report on zoning changes comes forward

City staff are recommending that council move forward with changes to the city’s zoning bylaw following a public hearing late last month.

By Stephanie Waddell on March 21, 2019

City staff are recommending that council move forward with changes to the city’s zoning bylaw following a public hearing late last month.

Mélodie Simard, the city’s manager of planning and sustainability, brought forward the recommendation and a report on the public hearing at Monday’s council meeting.

The changes have been labelled as “administrative edits” – amendments that are typically brought forward about once a year to deal with day-to-day issues that arise in the administration of the bylaw. They are described as being fairly minor in nature.

No delegates addressed council on the changes during a public hearing late last month. There were six written submissions made to the city expressing concerns over the proposal.

“The following issues were raised: prescribed perennial plantings is onerous to property owners; storage of refuse/compost bins should not be limited; bears are attracted to refuse/compost carts and fruit trees; location of school (in Whistle Bend) may create transportation issues,” Simard stated before going on to address each of the issues.

She first discussed the issue around perennials. The amendment requires that perennials be the main plant placed on a property where landscaping is outlined as a zoning requirement.

It had been argued that the requirement would be too onerous on residents.

Simard noted in her report: “The required plantings specified in the zoning bylaw are a minimum only. Property owners would still be albe to install further plantings, such as flowers, shrubs or food gardens in the front yard.”

Other changes around the black garbage and green compost bins for those on the city’s waste collection system were then looked at.

One change would prohibit the bins being kept in side yards of corner lots. That would be in addition to the current regulation that prevents the bins from being stored in front yards.

“The proposed regulation would only impact corner lots that have two public street frontages,” Simard said.

“The purpose of this regulation is to maintain a visually appealing streetscape along both frontages.

“In the majority of instances, bins can be kept against the house with no concern as buildings are typically not built to both setbacks on corner lots. The purpose of this regulation is to eliminate storage near the street.”

Concerns also came forward that bears are attracted to the waste and compost bins as well as berries and fruit trees that some residents may have in their back yard.

As Simard said though, the city is looking at solutions for high-risk areas such as bear-proofing measures for the waste and compost bins.

“However, it should be noted that 60 per cent of incidents between 2012 and 2017 occurred outside of residential collection areas,” Simard said.

“The city does not restrict planting of berries or fruit trees, as they support local food production. Based on available data, the city has not identified berries and fruit trees as major attractants for bears.”

Finally, Simard looked at a concern expressed there could be transportation issues if street crossings aren’t well-marked and drop-off areas aren’t well-planned in the area of the lot identified on Olive May Way in Whistle Bend for a new school.

Simard said those are issues that would be considered during the development permit process should planning get underway for a school there. (The new territorial budget tabled March 7 has planning money for a new school in the rapidly-growing Whistle Bend.)

Simard acknowledged there were other concerns around zoning – issues around parking and storage, among others – that aren’t part of the changes proposed.

“These items are outside the scope of this bylaw amendment process, but residents will be able to examine and comment on the zoning bylaw in its entirety during the zoning bylaw rewrite process that will follow completion of the Official Community Plan in 2020,” Simard said.

“Administration also brings forward occasional edits to the bylaw and some of these concerns could be examined for future amendments.”

The final two readings of the bylaw will come forward next week.

Coun. Steve Roddick attended Monday’s meeting by conference call.

Comments (5)

Up 20 Down 1

My Opinion on Mar 22, 2019 at 7:09 pm

You are obviously not a gardener. Much more maintenance long term as the garden matures. Much easier to just put in some new annuals each year. And besides what if someone doesn't want flowers, should be nobody elses business. Maybe just want grass. Government is way too much in our lives.

Up 1 Down 12

David on Mar 22, 2019 at 1:52 pm

I don't see what all the fuss is about, these all seem like good ideas. "The amendment requires that perennials be the main plant placed on a property where landscaping is outlined as a zoning requirement", how can you make an argument that this would be too onerous on residents? Shouldn't it be less onerous than having to plant flowers that only live one season (as then you have to re-plant them every year)?

Up 15 Down 2

George on Mar 22, 2019 at 8:57 am

We actually pay people to do this stuff?

Up 9 Down 1

My Opinion on Mar 21, 2019 at 8:23 pm

Can't grow berries or fruit tree's. OMG. How does the Okanagan survive?

Up 14 Down 2

Thomas Brewer on Mar 21, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Let's all plant perennial roses like on Hamilton, that will surely improve the curb appeal of our residential neighbourhoods.

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