Back in December, despite quite a few letters of opposition, Kimberley council decided to go ahead with a zoning change in Forest Crowne that would allow the applicant to build a carriage house on their property.
Council had 18 letters from residents of the subdivision regarding the rezoning request, with two in favour and 16 against. They also heard from three people who called in to the public hearing, one the proponent and the other two opposed to the rezoning.
It was the opinion of council, and the planning department, that accessory dwellings were supported by the Official Community Plan, and they were an effective way to increase housing diversity.
At their regular meeting Monday, January 9, 2023, council adopted the bylaw.
Mayor Don McCormick addressed one of the concerns that adopting the bylaw would set a precedent.
“There is no such thing as precedent,” he said. “If a resident wishes to change the zoning on their property, they simply put in an application and each application is considered on its own merit on a case by case basis.”
As for traffic concerns, McCormick said that the entire community is challenged by traffic.
“We have limited space and are a hundred years old. Kimberley was not designed with traffic in mind.
Coun. Sandra Roberts said she continued to wrestle with the rezoning and was not entirely comfortable with it. She said she had to consider how she’d feel if carriage houses were suddenly allowed in her neighbourhood.
“That’s a NIMBY response,” said Coun. Jason McBain. “We are trying to create opportunity. We all recognize the housing crunch. This is just one step in finding solutions. People resist change and I understand that.”
Roberts said she did like to keep an open mind and she thought she’d been persuaded to change her vote.
McCormick also said that it wasn’t like there was going to be an explosion of carriage house construction. “They are not cheap to build, rampant construction is not going to happen.”