Fred Taylor on the proposed new Zoning Bylaw

May 17, 2011

Fred Taylor, city watchdog, raised several issues at the May 16 Council meeting which he has agreed to have published here.

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Mayor Ruttan & Council Members:

Our Zoning Bylaw 4000 has on an ongoing basis been updated, consolidated and in my opinion a very friendly, understandable document.

I remain of the opinion, to rewrite the Zoning Bylaw with the idea of reinforcing our Official Community Plan establishes our O.C.P. of more than a guide for decision making on planning and land management issues.

As the proposed bylaw states –
“A need to update the Zoning Bylaw to ensure that it reflects the goals of the O.C.P. …..”

The Local Government Act Section 890 states –
4.  A local government may waive the holding of a public hearing on a proposed bylaw if
a)  an official community plan is in effect for the area that is subject to a proposed zoning bylaw, and
b)  the proposed bylaw is consistent with the plan.

I would say GOODBYE public, neighbourhood involvement!  The O.C.P.  may  no longer be a guide!

This new bylaw is how we conquer a neighbourhood for the developer?      Yes our O.C.P. does encourage higher density, but I disagree to rewrite our zoning bylaw reducing the required lot size/area of a zone, establish a new zone !

Give the neighbourhood an opportunity to the question of smaller lot area / density.

Nanaimo never had control of the height of fences until 1979 when a side yard, rear yard height of 2.4 metres was established. Today the new proposed bylaw reduces this height to 6′.

Staff use Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design to support the reduced height, suggesting sight or open view being a deterrent to crime.

I beg to differ; Vancouver, Kamloops, Kelowna, Courtenay, Qualicum, Parksville, Victoria, Duncan and Ladysmith all have over 6′ height side and rear yard fencing.

I have personally experienced 6′ or less fencing; your garden disappears, your lawn ornaments, lawn chairs and even break and enter into your residence occurs.  I strongly believe and have reduced trespass with higher solid construction fencing.

The adjoining private property to the Emery Way Public Park /  Tot Lot has a 6′ fence, I often witness strangers  looking over the 6′ fence in order to view the private property, later to see fence boards removed and I imagine trespass.

Private property is not always under watch, not expected to be lighted for night watch etcetera and needs a ‘barrier’ to trespass.

A 7’8″ fence is preferred to a hedge of uncontrolled height which may create complaint to the loss of distant view by adjoining neighbours.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design mainly addresses public space not private space.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Natural Access Control limits the opportunity for crime by taking steps to clearly differentiate between public space and private space; I quote “use substantial, high, closed fencing ……(example masonry)”.

My third concern tonight is the “urban agriculture will be encouraged by allowing urban food gardens up to 600 m2 in all zones.”  The definition of Urban Food Garden “means the use of land on a limited scale for the growing, harvesting and wholesaling of fruits, vegetables… ”

I believe the word should be retail sales.  Also, a home based permit should be required in fairness to other home based businesses.

Fred Taylor

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