signage-rules-for-development-proposalsFrom: Gerda Peachey <gerdapeachey@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 2:19 AM
Subject:
To: Darryl <Darryl.Plecas.MLA@leg.bc.ca>
Cc: Henry Braun <hbraun@abbotsford.ca>, George Murray <gmurray@abbotsford.ca>, Nick Crosman <ncrosman@abbotsford.ca>, Darren Braun <dbraun@abbotsford.ca>, Bill Flitton <BFlitton@abbotsford.ca>, “deJong.MLA, Mike” <Mike.deJong.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, simon.gibson.mla@leg.bc.ca, Nancy Friesen <NFriesen@abbotsford.ca>

Darryl <Darryl.Plecas.MLA@leg.bc.ca>

Hello Darryl:  As my MLA would you forward this to the minister in charge of Municipal Affairs, because Local Government Act allows the Minister to make  an order to change zoning bylaws.

Ministerial orders

874  (1) If a bylaw has been enacted by a local government under Division 2, 7, 9 or 11 of this Part, and the minister believes that all or part of the bylaw is contrary to the public interest of British Columbia, the minister may notify the local government

(a) of the minister’s objections to the bylaw or a plan, and

(b) that the council or the board must, within 90 days after receipt of the notice, alter the bylaw or plan accordingly.

(2) If the local government does not alter the bylaw or plan in accordance with the notice, the minister may, with the prior approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, order the bylaw or plan to be altered in accordance with the notice.

(3) On the date of an order of the minister under subsection (2), the bylaw or plan is conclusively deemed to be altered in accordance with the notice.

(4) An order of the minister under subsection (2) is final and binding.
http://bclaws.ca/civix/document/LOC/consol15/consol15/–%20L%20–/Local%20Government%20Act%20[RSBC%201996]%20c.%20323/00_Act/96323_30.xml

This is Tuesday, Sept. 6/16.   (In case the attached pictures don’t show on the email, I’ll post this on my blog as well.)

This afternoon, five of my neighbours got a postcard from City Hall to inform them of a Public Hearing to be held on Monday, Sept. 12/16. That gives them the 7th, 8th, 9th and 12th to ask questions of City Hall.  Four days.  (Ours arrived on Friday)

This Hearing matters very much.  Several people are getting signatures on a petition. Many others have phoned and written to City Hall.  Because of an error that caused the administration to cancel the first attempt to get this by-law amendment, people have had a chance to talk to each other, try to understand just how this development proposal will impact them, and what can be done. So now the Hearing is not a shocker, but that is no thanks to the present badly flawed process.

The way in which our City brings critical issues to a public hearing is seriously in need of revision.  If the City hadn’t made an error, the earlier hearing of July 25th would probably have seen Council vote in favour of a developers wish to remove her LUC on an investment property and replace the existing mobile with a large house and suite, thereby setting a precedent in our community of 150 properties.

Thankfully we got time because of the error in not having a Re-zoning sign on the subject property. Then Council took a summer break, so the earlier item was rescinded and started again August 29th, with 1st and 2nd Reading and a Public Hearing set for Sept. 12.

That we got time as a community to think about a radical change here, was an accident, not in our Councils plans at all, and that is why I ask you to forward this to the Provincial Government on our behalf.  The biggest, most serious issue is inadequate time.

The process by which our Council takes a developer’s proposal in two swift weeks from when the public first sees it, to a Public Hearing at their very next regular meeting, gives almost no time.  No community thinks they need to always be alert, to what Council might be doing to their interests while they work.  People are busy and should be able to trust that civil servants are also working on their behalf, for their good.

So the agenda comes out on the City website late Friday afternoon.

From Friday night to Monday night. There First and Second Reading happen and  proposal may be sent to a Public Hearing two weeks hence.

Then ads go in the local paper.  Send out post-cards to affected area residents.   As we can see now those cards filter through the postal system, and at the very best arrive 12 days before a hearing. The newspaper will alert those who receive and read the local paper, beginning Friday, giving 10 days at best, before the Hearing.

In the proposal before us there was no sign at all, for round one, but if things are done according to the regulations, a rezoning sign would be up three weeks prior to the 1st an 2nd Reading of Council.  So we do have the sign now, (though it is obscured by the renters van every evening and weekend.)

City regulations stipulate that upon granting a Public Hearing there must be a sticker placed on the Re-zoning proposal sign, informing the public of the date, time and location of that hearing.

We’re now six days away from the hearing, but there is no such sticker on that sign.  Nor is there a sticker on the sign on the Windsor Street re-zoning proposal, that is also on the upcoming Monday evening hearing.

We asked staff a question, a few weeks ago,…… If the July 11-July 25 hearing had gone ahead, despite the total absence of a re-zoning sign on the subject property, and if Council had approved the application before them,……then upon admitting their error, would that decision have been reversed?  And staff said,… “No”  It would not have been reversed”.  One of the folk in the room pressed further and asked why, since it was the city’s error.  And the chilling response from staff was, “Well then you would have to seek legal advice.”

Last week I wanted to clear up some questions before we get to Sept. 12, and staff at the Provincial help-line said the same chilling words.  Just to get answers about the process of conducting business around development applications and final Public Hearings, necessitates legal advice???

When on July 25, I got an email to say our community was taken off that evening agenda, I phoned, and emailed City Hall to say they needed to inform the community of that cancellation, but the reply was, “We don’t do that.”

In the city documents however, it is spelled out that if the developer does not fulfil their responsibility and the hearing is cancelled, the city will inform the public,….and the developer must pay for that.

The requirements also stipulate that the developer must produce a photograph as proof that the sign is up, three weeks before even a first reading is given to the application.

So many things that are not being done right by our City, in regards to development applications going for Public Hearing.

But the most serious problem of all is that developers have as much time as they need to work with staff to bring their application forward.   Then out of the blue the affected neighbourhood, gets hit with the news.  A ridiculous system now governs the number of days people have to respond.

The city web says no sign is required if the by-law change emanates from City Hall.  Nor is a sign required if the proposal comes from ten property owners.  That is wrong.  This City belongs to all the people, and everyone should have a fair opportunity to know of significant proposals for change.

The present process heavily favours the applicant over the needs of the surrounding properties.

So, Mr. Plecas, I ask that you bring our seriously flawed process to the Province for review and make adjustments that consider the needs of the larger community – to have at least as much value as is placed on them as on wants of a developer.

My thoughts: A re-zoning sign be required a month before Council considers the application.  Then Council does a 1st Reading, followed by a two-week interval before the 2nd Reading.  If the matter is deemed worthy of a Public Hearing, the public must be given a full months notice by way of local newspaper, and a letter/post-card sent from the City.  If the current rules are followed properly, the re-zoning sign will be on the subject property already, for three weeks prior to 1st Reading, and remain there, until Council votes for or against the application.  This would give concerned citizens a fighting chance to figure out what is going on, whether they approve of it, and whether they need to get involved.

There has to be far more time than this present flawed system, The working public are not watching every move made by their municipal leaders, and generally don’t find it easy to figure out the City web-site. The public should be treated with way more respect to allow sufficient time, first to hear and then be able to act on a proposal that impacts on their lives.

Please let me know who at the Provincial level will look into this.

Thank you,

Gerda Peachey

img_5929-6img_5932img_5956img_5934IMG_5570

https://gerdapeacheysviews.wordpress.com/2016/09/04/now-i-understand-why-you-must-get-answers-from-government-in-writing/

 

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