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Proposed Hyde Creek bylaw causes controversy

Bylaw 923 states that guest houses must not be used for commercial purposes.

Many Hyde creek and Nimpkish Heights residents attended a public hearing to voice concern over a proposed zoning bylaw that would affect the ability to rent out a guest house.

A crowd of about 30 people attended the hearing at the Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) offices on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

Hyde Creek zoning bylaw no.648, amended bylaw no.923,2017 aims to delete, replace, and add definitions and clarify regulations pertaining to the use of accessory buildings and recreational structures.

“Firstly the definition of accessory building is proposed to be replaced with a new definition of accessory building the intent to do so is to give greater flexibility in the interpretation and range in the types of buildings,” said Jeff Long, RDMW Manager of Planning and Development Services.

Bylaw 923 states that guest houses must not be used for home commerce or other commercial purposes, including the provision of rental accommodation. It also states that a recreational vehicle cannot be used for dwelling unit or residential purposes unless it has been approved by the regional district as a temporary dwelling unit.

Since notice of the bylaw was given, three written submissions to provide input in regards to bylaw 923 were put forward by Hyde Creek residents.

Long said it was clear the residents were not in favour of bylaw 923.

Many other residents were in attendance to give verbal statements during the hearing.

“I have serious concerns about the proposed amendment to Hyde Creek bylaw 648,” said a Hyde Creek resident who lives on Mine Road.

“Two being the change in the definition of the guest house, which specifically excludes mobile homes and or recreation vehicles, and will also restrict the use of a guest house for residential purposes only and not commerce,” he said.

He explained he had wished to construct a guest house for his sons and other family members to stay in while visiting, and wanted to be able to use the facility to generate rental income while it was vacant.

“It’s very limiting and restrictive to those who have two acres and want to utilize all of their acres,” said another resident from Lanqvist Road, adding “we are in the process of building a cabin down by the water, and as the bylaw is now, we can’t rent to a long-term person.”

Nimpkish Heights resident Brenda Johnson said she was concerned with the language used in the bylaw. “I really think we need to define what commercial enterprise is. For me, renting a residential guest house falls under my personal income.”

Sharon Barratt, a member of the Hyde Creek Advisory Planning Commission (APC), said the general consensus was that people bought property in Hyde Creek because it was a rural community.

“What is being described here with rentals, people want greater density with rental accommodations,” she said.

She said APC wasn’t sure what the community wanted, noting they would “go along with what the community wanted” but a higher density would “change the flavour so we need to hear from the community on what kind of community we want.”

After nearly an hour of public input, the public hearing was concluded and the regional district had the choice to either consider the bylaws for second and third reading and then adopt them, decide any particular bylaw not be given further readings, or put them aside for further consideration and input by the local community.

“Given the nature of the participation today by the community, I would like to acknowledge that staff and members of the APC that took this matter in good faith and the intent of the changes were to simply clarify the existing bylaw, not to change it substantively,” said RDMW Chair Andrew Hory during the regular RDMW board meeting that followed the public hearing.

“I don’t think it would be appropriate to go forward without a further public consultation process,” he added.

Long then recommended they “not give it further readings or consideration at this time and staff will go ahead with the planning commission and undertake a public consultation process about what the residents of Hyde Creek would like to see in their bylaw.”

He added that after public consultation, they may amend bylaw 923 with something more in-tune with the input received.

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