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REPORTING · 6th December 2013
Walter McFarlane
ANOTHER COUNCILLOR WANTS TO MAKE THINGS TOUGHER FOR HOME BUSINESSES

The Planning Fee Amendment Bylaw came before Council on Monday, December 2nd. Councillor Corinne Scott made a motion to give it 2nd reading and review the bylaw every 5 years.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff proposed an amendment to change the costs for permits relating to the Board of Variance, the Temporary Use Permit and Temporary Use Permit Renewal, to amend the amounts to $300, $500 and $350 respectively, from the current amounts of $450, $850 and $650.

“We had a bit of a discussion last time at Council and the intention of the feedback from the Advisory Planning Commission was that the fees be structured in such a fashion as to the cost of processing the various applications be recouped from the Developer. In the amendment which I have put forward. I have isolated those applications that are typically put forward by individuals and home owners in opposed to large businesses that are seeking to change OCP’s and put up in large amendment permits,” said Feldhoff.

He told Council the Board of Variance was a hardship case which used to deal with boundaries and property lines. This has been set at $150 since 1990. He said $300 would be adequate rather than $450. The Temporary Use Permit and Temporary Use Permit Renewal are used by people creating home based businesses offering meaningful services to the community when it is too expensive to have a store front.

Feldhoff stated Council should encourage the continuation of these services through this process because rent of store fronts is becoming challenging. Scott stated Council does have the ability to revisit the Temporary Use Permits at a later date.

Councillor Rob Goffinet reminded Council they had a long discussion about all of these suggestions and the plan was to recoup the costs to the Planning Department for people applying for these permits. At the moment, the taxpayer is paying for the permit costs for planning and the costs were out of date.

Goffinet told Council the new costs for temporary use permit and renewal is $1,500. The fees would recoup $1,000. He added the two costs will stretch over six years.

“Temporary Use Permits are for businesses in private homes where they forego the expense of storefront addresses like other businesses,” said Goffinet.

Councillor Edwin Empinado said there is a difference between a Temporary Use Permit and a Temporary Use Permit Renewal, because of the advertising costs, he wanted to know why this was waved. He was told if the District has not received significant complaints about the permit, they would waive the advertising portion.

Feldhoff closed debate on the amendment. “I am in agreement with a vast majority of the recommendations from the APC. I don’t think it would be undermining the input of the APC to agreeing with the amendment and once again, I don’t think we should be looking at this recouping all of the costs related to processing these applications the same way we don’t look to recoup all of the costs of running our recreation facilities from the people who skate and swim in them nor for recouping all of the costs from running our bus from people that use the bus. These small businesses are providing services to the community out of their homes. It’s a service which is not only for the benefit of the person running the business but also for the benefit of the community that might not otherwise have access to certain services that are being offered by these home based businesses,” said Feldhoff.

The amendment was called and carried. Scott stated she wanted to revisit the Temporary use Permits at a later day. Back to the main motion, it was called and carried.