Parksville council reverses decision on carriage homes downtown

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Parksville council voted to not go ahead with a plan to change a zoning bylaw to permit carriage houses in the city’s downtown core.

Council discussed the issue after receiving a letter from the Parksville Downtown Business Association (PDBA) that expressed concerns about the amendment.

The letter said the zoning change would “discourage or delay redevelopment of properties being used for residential purposes within the commercial zoning.” The PDBA also said in the letter it was concerned the proposal would “affect the assessed values of other commercial properties” and “not provide any meaningful, impactful inventory of affordable housing.”

Mayor Ed Mayne said he disagreed with most of the points in the letter.

“The reality is we have been saying all along, since this council was elected, that we needed to build the population in the downtown core. Carriage houses provided the lowest possible cost for somebody to move into the downtown core. That was the idea,” he said.

A carriage house is a home contained in a building separate from a single-family dwelling, but on the same lot, according to the city. They are currently only permitted on properties in the city’s RS-1 (single family residential) zone.

Coun. Teresa Patterson’s motion to remove the proposal from city staff’s 2021 workplace was passed with Mayne and Coun. Al Greir opposed.

Patterson said she would prefer to see requests to build a carriage home in the downtown core dealt with on a case-by-case basis, rather than a bylaw amendment.

Coun. Doug O’Brien pointed out city staff is already very busy with other projects. “This is not an easy task to do. It’s a major task when we do any bylaw or zoning amendment to the system.”

Council voted, during its Sept. 8 meeting, to direct staff to prepare a zoning and development amendment bylaw to permit an accessory carriage house on properties with a single family dwelling in the downtown commercial C-3 zone.  

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