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Carriage houses

Majority wants comprehensive public consultation

City of Powell River council will discuss holding  more comprehensive public consultation about whether to allow detached accessory homes, or carriage houses, on residential properties during budget talks.

The city’s zoning bylaw prohibits detached accessory dwellings on residential lots, with the exception of A2, Large Lot Rural. The bylaw allows secondary suites in single family dwellings in all zones, except for RM1, Compact Residential.

Carriage houses, or detached garden suites, are stand-alone dwelling units over, or in combination with, a garage or workshop. Or they are one-storey ground-oriented units located in the backyard of a single-family home.

In July, council directed staff to undertake a public consultation process to determine the extent of public interest in allowing carriage houses. The direction came after staff recommended not changing the zoning bylaw to permit them.

Staff bought a full page advertisement in a local, monthly publication. The city received four emails and one letter, all in support of an amendment to allow carriage houses, as a result of the ad. “While the small number of submissions does not provide an adequate sampling of public opinion regarding this matter, it suggests that there is no public demand for major changes to the zoning bylaw,” wrote Regina Sadilkova, manager of development services, in a memo to council. “As there is no budget specific for this project, a more extensive process would require funding.”

Councillor Debbie Dee, who said she supported carriage houses, made a motion at the December 16 council meeting to direct staff to prepare a detailed report and a zoning bylaw amendment to permit carriage housing.

When the vote was taken, the motion was defeated.

Dee then made a motion to refer the issue of further public consultation to 2011 budget discussions. The motion passed.

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