Kimberley City Council is rolling ahead with multiple amendments to zoning bylaw 2722.
On Monday, September 12, 2022 after a public hearing, council went ahead with third reading of the bylaw.
The bylaw proposes numerous changes to allow for diversification of Kimberley’s housing product, including allowing for multiple buildings on one lot, higher builds and a reduction in parking requirements. For instance instead of requiring two parking spots, a builder could provide one parking spot and two bike spots.
Planner Justin Cooke says the bylaw would allow up to 12m (39.4 ft.) for duplex or multiple unit dwellings in the R-1 and R-2, which by a general rule of thumb at 10ft per story, which means achieving four stories would be difficult as the height also needs to include space for a roof. The R-3, C-1 and CP-1 zones would allow for up to 15m (49.2 ft.), which would equate to a likely maximum of 5 stories, but only where an affordable housing agreement is established and otherwise the height limit in these zones is limited to 12m as well.
The city has sought public engagement through various methods including engagekimberley.ca and while there was support for the amendments, and support for the city doing something about the lack of housing, there were also concerns.
Some were around buyers who chose to purchase in quiet residential neighbourhoods possibly facing the prospect of a six storey building right next door. It was explained that one of the requirements of allowing more height was for a buildings side to be angled back at a certain height, rather than allowing for a straight wall. Planning felt that would alleviate some concerns around loss of sunlight.
Councillors generally supported the amendments.
“This isn’t going to turn Kimberley into a six storey town,” said Kyle Dalum. “It’s going to allow for flexibility.”
Mayor Don McCormick also commented that it was unlikely that six storey buildings would end up in residential neighbourhoods simply because the lots were too small.
“The key is flexibility,” said Jason McBain. “It gives existing homeowners the flexibility to expand. The bylaw gives you the goal posts. It doesn’t mean everyone is going to do it. It gives us a chance to see some creative solutions to housing.”
Coun. Sandra Roberts added that it doesn’t mean no development plan. The development plan process takes care of concerns like parking and sunshine, she said.
“There are all kinds of checks and balances. We won’t have a crazy environment just because we are getting more diverse.”
McCormick added that bylaws are not forever.
“If something comes up, it can be modified,” he said.