Occasionally, a builder wants some type of construction that is not permitted by the zoning bylaws. While City officials have a small amount of discretion to address minor variances, large variances to zoning requirements result in the request for approval being rejected. Builders then have a choice – either re-adjust their plans to fit within the zoning requirements, or appeal to the Subdivision & Appeal Board (SDAB). Anyone with an interest in the construction proposal can speak at the Appeal Board hearing; the decision of the Appeal Board is final.
Recently, the Bonnie Doon community had exactly this situation occur: a builder wished to construct a four-unit row housing development in the neighbourhood, and applied for a building permit. The application was rejected by Sustainable Development as not meeting zoning requirements. The builder then took the issue to the SDAB. The Bonnie Doon Community League spoke against the development at the appeal hearing, arguing the application not only did not meet zoning requirements, but also had large variances in what was being proposed. As such, BDCL felt it was an inappropriate development for its location. In spite of these arguments, the developer won his appeal, and has now moved forward with construction.
We are now preparing a strategy to reduce the chances of such a development being approved in the future. In fact, we’d appreciate your input. Write to our Civics Chair, Ed Keding.