By Nikki Jamieson
Westwind Weekly News
Raymond town council has recessed a Public Hearing to allow for time to revisit another bylaw.
On March 2, Raymond town council held a Public Hearing for a rezoning bylaw. Bylaw 1095-21 would amend the town’s land-use bylaw to rezone a residential property on Broadway South to allow for a 15-seat fine-dining restaurant.
The property in question is located at 186 Broadway South, and has recently been sold, with the applicant currently looking to have it rezoned, so a fine-dining restaurant may be placed on it. The purchasers were informed, prior to the purchase of the property, in order to do that the area would need to be rezoned, as it’s current General Residential zoning does not allow for that use. The property has historically been zoned General Residential, and is surrounded by other residential properties.
Unlike a Residential or Commercial district — where the land-use bylaw outlines what is and isn’t allowed — under a Direct Control zoning, council dictates what can go on the property and sets conditions for the property and/or development. The zoning would have to be changed for the property before the planned restaurant can open.
During the Public Hearing, Mark Boltezar, development officer for the town, said for the restaurant’s parking situation, there may have been a suggestion — something not ironed out beforehand.
In the town’s LUB for the Commercial District, it was outlined one parking stall per four seats for restaurants. While the applicant had provided a parking plan, which shows six parking stalls in the boulevard in front of the property to accommodate offstreet parking, which was discussed with Boltezar and the town’s development officer, that may be contrary to an existing bylaw, — so, that would have to be adjusted. Two responses the town had received in regards to the bylaw had brought this issue up. According to the bylaw in question, Bylaw 968-10, driveways and boulevard parking must not exceed 20 per cent of the total frontage of a home.
“The Care of Boulevards (and/or) Lanes Bylaw passed in (January 2020) dealt with people parking on the boulevard,” said Boltezar, adding there were no waivements in the bylaw. “In our land-use bylaw, we have strictly rules to allow discretion in some of the rules we put on. In our Care of Boulevards, Lanes Bylaw, it does say strictly that is 20 per cent of the maximum frontage, so we will be going through this Public Hearing hearing these comments.”
Boltezar recommended council table the parking decision, but otherwise continue with the Public Hearing.
The town had received four written responses — three against and one for — for the bylaw. Concerns raised by those against include the viability of the business, parking, increase in traffic, garbage proximity to nearby residents, health and safety requirements and whether it would open the door to allow other types of businesses there.
Bonnie Bruner, a town planner with the Oldman River Regional Services commission (ORRSC), said the latter concern was not the case with Direct Control Districts.
“There’s no ability for variance in this bylaw,” said Bruner. “If they couldn’t meet the parking requirements or there is some component that could not be met, then the bylaw would have to go through a bylaw amendment. So even though it’s delegated to a development officer, it’s very specific in terms of what could be approved.
“It couldn’t be a Subway, it couldn’t be anything except for fine-dining, which is very prescriptive, which was intentional — because it was recognized this is a residential neighbourhood.”
Brunner noted if the property was sold, a new restaurant could be established there with the exact details listed in the bylaw and the person could apply for a new permit, or it could be rezoned from Direct Control back to its former Residential zoning.
Additionally, referring to one comment about barrier-free parking, Brunner said according to the land-use bylaw, a development of this size is not required to have barrier-free parking, although it is recommended. However, as the parking plan exceeds the minimum stall requirements, one of those could be converted. Other concerns were either not applicable or could be addressed in the development permit stage.
In addition to the written letters, at least one resident attended the council meeting over Zoom, and while he had concerns, most of them were alleviated.
The Public Hearing was recessed to March 16, to allow time for council to look at the Care of Boulevards and/or Lanes Bylaw.