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Sicamous council gives proposed zoning bylaw third reading for second time

Public hearing dominated by stratas’ differing views on short-term rentals
Owners from the Legacy on Mara shared their views on the MUR-2 (multi-unit residential – seasonal accommodation) zoning proposed by the District of Sicamous for the property at 326 Mara Lake Lane. (Google image)

Sicamous council gave third reading to an amended version of the district’s new zoning bylaw.

At its Sept. 28 meeting, council gave second reading to an amended version of Sicamous Zoning Bylaw 1000 and then third reading. On Wednesday, Dec. 14, the bylaw was back before council with a recommendation from staff to rescind third reading, then give second and third reading to a newly amended version of the bylaw.

Development services manager Scott Beeching explained since the Sept. 28 meeting, the district and council had received new information so, “in order to move forwards, we have to move backwards.” Beeching provided several amendments to the bylaw, subsequent to the Sept. 28 meeting. Among them, adding a special regulation to limit new parcels created by subdivision to 100 at 1033 MacLean McPherson; adding “storage facility” as a permitted use to the Highway Commercial Zone; and the addition of site specific regulations to properties at 605 and 508 Kappel Street and at 504 Highway 97A. A number of the proposed amendments were desired by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), which is yet to give the bylaw its approval.

Another amendment on the list, though not new, was for 326 Mara Lake Lane (The Legacy) – that it be changed from its current zoning to MUR-2 (multi-unit residential – seasonal accommodation), which supports short-term rentals. Beeching said the district had received a lot of related correspondence. Council’s agenda package included 163 pages of correspondence, most of it related to short-term rentals at the The Legacy. Comments made during the hearing were also largely focused on the building and a division among owners over short-term rentals.

After the hearing, prior to voting on third reading, council’s comments too revolved primarily around The Legacy.

Coun. Gord Bushell called The Legacy “a tough one,” but reasoned it’s a waterfront resort, that has had rentals.

“I think staff have it right that it is an MUR2,” said Bushell. “If we did zone it MUR-1, MUR-1 has care facilities in it, it has day care, it has health clinics in it – it’s not that. It’s an actual waterfront resort and it’s been used for a resort for the last 12 years…”

Coun. Ian Baillie concurred, stating council’s job is to figure out what the right zoning is for the town, and “what zoning that makes sense in that area and I agree with staff, you made the right recommendation.”

Baillie empathized with The Legacy’s strata, having served as a strata president, and hoped its owners would find a way forward.

“I also lived in a strata and it’s complicated, it’s tough and it’s up to the strata to decide how they want to run their house,” commented Mayor Colleen Anderson. “That is up to the owners, all the owners to figure out what they want to do, not just one or two. It’s got to be a majority and you’ve got to sit down and discuss it. It’s in your hands. I think the district has zoned it correctly. I think you guys need to sit down collectively and figure out what you want to do.”

Council voted unanimously in support of third reading. The amended bylaw will be submitted to the MOTI for approval.

Read more: Sicamous council raises concerns around short-term rentals and proposed bylaw

Read more: Sicamous strata members vote against proposed rezoning allowing short-term rentals
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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