———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Gerda Peachey <gerdapeachey@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 7:55 AM
Subject: Neighbourhood Letter re Land Use Contract Terminations
To: Henry Braun <hbraun@abbotsford.ca>, George Murray <gmurray@abbotsford.ca>, Darren Braun <dbraun@abbotsford.ca>, Blake Collins <bcollins@abbotsford.ca>, Nick Crosman <ncrosman@abbotsford.ca>

Hello neighbours:

A few weeks ago I went to the Planning Department at City Hall, hoping to get some clarity on a few unanswered questions that need to to be resolved BEFORE council and staff make decisions that may have radical impacts on many of our lives.

Staff has said that something of a neighbourhood information meeting will take place, after spring break, which has just ended.

But there are some vital and outstanding questions that need to be answered before the City ‘informs‘ us what they plan to do about zoning/re-zoning of our unique cluster of mobile and modular homes.

We started this journey of uncertainty on July 14, 2016.  Some of you got a postcard to inform you there would be a Public Hearing about the application to turn 2090 Oakridge Crescent into a 3-storey house with suite.  Pretty well all of us were caught off guard by that short notice of a July 25, 2016 hearing. Most of us had believed we were protected by the Provincial Land Use Contract.  Many did not even know that all such LUCs were to be terminated by 2024.

We’ve been on a huge learning curve since July 14, and because of your collective engagement we’ve been able to buy a bit more time to try to process what is happening at City Hall, in relation to our properties.

What troubles me is the silence on a few very significant questions.   If Henry Braun and Ross Siemens, Moe Gill et al. had come looking for our votes prior to the municipal election and stated we should vote for them because they intended to use their power at the Council table to zone away the land from under our feet, not many of us would have found that a convincing reason to trust them to rule over our City.  City Hall has sneered at our alleged misinformation, but to date the problem has been and still remains all the MISSING INFORMATION.

Darren Braun and Nick Crosman gave a number of people here a generous amount of their time, early on.  I took lots of notes but did not fully absorb it all.  Thankfully some of the folk were sharper than I and many did serious research and later raised thoughtful questions about what an RS3 zoning would mean to all of us. Like, if your mobile burns down and your new zoning is now RS3 which explicitly forbids mobile/modular,………can you bring in a replacement mobile?

And when was the decision made to ‘lift’ the LUC that covered all of us on Oakridge, Lombard, Monarch and Crystal Court, and ‘paint’ RS3 as a broad-brush swath over our community, for that day when the LUCs would be terminated. Until July 14 I wasn’t thinking about any of this.  I’ve heard many of you say as well, it has been a slowly dawning realization that RS3 essentially DENIES the very thing that we all are!  We all bought mobiles on our own land, knowing that the provincial LUC restricted us to only having mobile/modular homes.  Yet RS3 explicitly DOES NOT ALLOW FOR MOBILES/MODULARS.  It took a while to realize just how cavalier and unscrupulous this is.

So I asked staff to put down in writing:

  • When was the decision made to slap RS3 as an underlying zoning on a community that has only and always been mobile homes?
  • Who made that decision to essentially deny our status, i.e., the LUC that’s been in place since 1972/3?
  • With whom was that decision discussed?
  • Was our neighbourhood ever asked, or consulted before making such a radical decision?

I’ve asked by phone, in person, by email and again by email what grandfathering means, since that word was vaguely used, by way of assuring one of the neighbours.  But to date Mayor Braun and the Councillors feel no need to answer this, at least not to me.  I’ve read something about a home-owner being allowed to stay on in a compliance/non-compliance manner.

Compliance/non-compliance to remain on land you bought in good faith?  What does this mean?   But with arrogance our elected Council feels no need to bother giving WRITTEN clarity on some fundamental questions regarding their designs on our land.

And again, why the rush to make any change in our current LUCs, given that the Provincial mandate stipulates 2024 as the final sunset?  Who is this rush job for?

I suggest it is for the good of the moneyed land-use speculators waiting in the wings, and not for the good of folk who bought here with low to medium incomes and who may not be able to stay if zoning significantly alters the neighbourhood.

The question of how much our taxes will increase if a critical mass yanks out their mobiles and replaces them with 3-storey mega house and suites has been brushed aside in a rather dismissive way.  Recently I spoke to a man who lives on a street rapidly giving way to monster houses and the rise in his municipal tax is astronomical.  He does not think he can hang on much longer.  And yes, he said those new houses have illegal suites to pay them off.

Quite frankly, I have no reason to trust that our Council care what we want for this community.   All over Abbotsford the affordable housing is being snapped up, usually allowed to degrade to slum status.  When expedient, landlords flip properties, or build 3-storey houses that max out the footprint.  Often those houses have illegal suites.  Currently Abbotsford houses are limited to one legal suite, but that restriction is openly flouted, as is well-known.  So we’ve seen our oasis of affordable housing being snapped up by land-use speculators.  I fear that pattern sweeping our City will swallow up this beautiful community.  The Official Community Plan is a bit of a joke.  Entire streets are making the City look like it will soon be one big Townline Hill.

If our Mayor and Council care at all about the will of this community, they can easily design a zoning created for us, for this unique “mobiles on private land” community.  The City can retain an area of smaller structures, such as two-storeys, retaining more green space and absolutely limiting the house to one suite, at most (then having the courage to enforce those zoning by-laws).

Mayor Braun wanted to combine a meeting with the people on Windsor, Winton etc. which would most certainly result in our voices being diluted (which perhaps is the point).

In the faint hope that City Hall will surprise me and condescend to answer my questions, I am copying this to them as well, and I will possibly deliver copies to the neighbourhood this week.

Pass this along if you wish to other neighbours. (Below is an earlier correspondence that might be useful.)

NOTE TO CITY STAFF:  If you believe you detect any “misinformation” in what I have written, I request that you advise me directly.

Thanks,

Gerda

gerdapeachey@gmail.com

Dear Ms. Peachey,

Thank you for your emails of September 19 and 22, 2016  to the Honourable Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development regarding the termination of Land Use Contract (LUC) No. 13, Discharge Bylaw 2552-2016, (applicant – K.K. Gill).  The Minister has asked that I respond directly to your concerns about the process undertaken by the City of Abbotsford to discharge the LUC and to address the other issues you have raised.

As you may be aware, LUCs were first enabled under the Local Government Act (LGA) in the 1970s. At that time, the legislative provisions (LGA s. 546) allowed for the discharge of a LUC by bylaw with the agreement of the land owner and the local government, and that authority remains in place today.  In the case of Bylaw 2552-2016, it is my understanding that the land owner applied to have the LUC discharged from their property using this legislative provision and it was being processed accordingly. I understand that the bylaw was recently defeated.

Changes to the Local Government Act through Bill 17, 2014, provided for the termination of land use contracts in two other ways.

1)       A new requirement that all LUCs will be terminated in 2024 (LGA s. 547), and

2)       An early termination option that local governments may use (LGA s. 548).

All of the termination options require that a Zoning Bylaw be in place on the land before the termination is finalized. It is the local government’s responsibility to apply the type of zoning to the land.

I have been advised that the City of Abbotsford is interested in undertaking a comprehensive review of LUCs for the purpose of early termination under option 2 above and may be scheduling public consultation in the near future.  For further information about the City’s early termination activities, you may wish to contact the Abbotsford Planning Department directly at 604-864-5510 or planning-info@abbotsford.ca.

I also encourage you to talk to the Abbotsford Planning Department with regard to your questions about grandfathering. Grandfathering is a term used to describe sections of the LGA that address legal, non-conforming uses. Grandfathering may allow an existing, legal use to be continued when a new land use bylaw is adopted, however there are a number of related conditions and limitations.  In your case, there may also be specific details around LUC No. 13 and the LUC termination options, so it is best to talk to the Abbotsford Planning Department directly.

With regard to your concern about the length of notice periods, I wish to advise that the notice period for public hearings for the discharge of LUCs is the same as the notice period for public hearings on other types of planning and land use matters. This notice period has been in place for many years and changes are not being contemplated.

With respect to Bill 17, while it was introduced by the Honourable Suzanne Anton, Minister of Justice, different sections of the Bill were put forward by different ministers.  As noted in your email and in Hansard, it was the Honourable Coralee Oakes, as the former Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, who addressed the planning and LUC provisions.

With regard to your final point, if you have reasonable and probable grounds to believe that there is a conflict of interest by a Member of the Legislative Assembly, you may apply in writing to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. The application should outline the grounds for your belief and the nature of the contravention.  Your application must be signed and can be faxed 250-356-6580 or mailed to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, First Floor, 421 Menzies Street, Victoria, BC V8V 1X4.  Further information is available on the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner’s website.  http://www.coibc.ca/

Thank you for taking the time to write to the Minister with your concerns.

Sincerely,

Meggin Messenger

Executive Director, Intergovernmental Relations and Planning

Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development

250-387-4045

Cathy LeBlanc, M. Sc. Pl., MCIP, RPP

Intergovernmental Relations and Planning

Ministry of Community, Sport & Cultural Development

(250) 387-4049

Cathy.LeBlanc@gov.bc.ca

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