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Guelph-Eramosa takes first look at zoning bylaw housekeeping amendment

by Jaime Myslik

BRUCEDALE - Guelph-Eramosa Township is moving ahead with a public meeting to discuss housekeeping amendments to the new comprehensive zoning bylaw approved in August.

“We’ve had about six, seven months now to use it and see really how it was worded, how it worked and of course when you start using something like that you do find some things that you wish you’d done differently,” said township planning consultant Mitchell Avis at the Feb. 6 council meeting.

“Maybe some errors and that’s really what a housekeeping amendment is meant to do is once you use it, you realize what those are, we’re here to fix it.”

Usually municipalities keep a list of changes and revisions and do a housekeeping amendment once every year or so.

The main motivation to do the amendment now is because building season is around the corner and Avis said there is a lack of clarity regarding setback requirements for sheds and accessory structures.

The proposed changes or revisions include:

- modifying the definition of accessory structures to make it clear they are not attached to the house;

- add setback requirements for accessory structures including 0.6m (2ft) if there is no motor vehicle storage and 1.2m (4ft) if there is motor vehicle storage;

- creating one page listing all accessory building provisions;

- identifying on the first page that the Rockwood Ridge subdivision is included under a separate zoning bylaw;

- making it clear that if council closes a road, which is not zoned, and sells it to an adjacent landowner(s) the road will be zoned the same as the owner’s property;    

- adding a definition of catering service;

- changing the definition of house height to the ridge, instead of the deck;

- deleting the definition of a sawmill;

- changing the non-conforming setbacks section to require that buildings were legally constructed;

- clarifying that when a new house is built the old house can remain on the lot as long as residential use is discontinued;

- making it clear that accessible parking spaces do not apply to detached, semi-detached or duplex dwellings;

- allowing automatic rezoning of a surplus dwelling when severance is approved;

- permitting staff to make technical revisions such as grammar and spelling that have no affect on bylaw enforcement without coming to council for approval;

- removing the numerical guideline for minimum distance separations and instead indicating to follow the provincial guidelines; and

- modify the zoning on three properties that contained a setback provision for the future Highway 124, which is no longer happening.

“We need to do this,” Mayor Chris White said. “This was a pretty comprehensive zoning bylaw.”

He added that he’s glad the bylaw is working in general.

Councillor Mark Bouwmeester asked if allowing technical revisions without public notice was legally allowed.

“It’s in a lot of zoning bylaws now and your legal council has reviewed this proposed draft bylaw at this point and they had no issue with it,” Avis said. “I think it’s something that is pretty common.

“It’s not meant to overstep council by any means ... if there’s a spelling mistake, if there’s a renumbering issue, reordering, as long as we’re not changing the intent, that’s what that provision is (meant for).”

Council will be holding a public meeting regarding the proposed zoning bylaw amendment on March 20 at 7pm at the township office.

February 17, 2017


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