After much debate, Revelstoke City Council passed third reading of the proposed Temporary Use Permit.
The new permit required amendments to the Zoning Bylaw as well as the Official Community Plan.
A public hearing was hosted on the issue at the council meeting on Nov. 12.
Residents raised concerns about the new permit being a way to avoid the process required by a development permit, as well as potential abuse of the system.
“In my background I am always worried when you have two processes that are doing substantially the same thing,” said Bob Dale, Revelstoke resident. “It invariably introduces confusion to both sides.”
Temporary Use Permits are a tool for the planning department to use that would allows them to approve a proposal in an area that is not currently zoned for that use.
Each permit would have to be approved by city council and go through a public engagement process, including a public hearing and the maximum amount of time a permit can be issued for is three years, with the option to renew for the maximum of another three years.
However, Marianne Wade, director of development services said, there are a variety of combinations when it comes to the timeline. For example, council could approve a permit for one year and if it comes up for renewal, another three years, or any combination they so choose.
Wade also attempted to dispel council and resident’s concerns that the permit would be abused, by explaining that staff would look at each proposal carefully and if it was not suited for a temporary use permit, they would recommend it move forward as a development permit.
She also said that having a Temporary Use Permit system would be a part of the zoning bylaw if she could wave a magic wand and update it all right now.
Councillors Steven Cross and Cody Younker voted against the motion.
Cross said he has seen city council in other cities vote in favour of the common good without considering the needs of those who are directly impacted too often, and he worried that Temporary Use Permits would go the same direction.
Younker said he was concerned that the city’s bylaw officers would not have the capacity to enforce the requirements of the permits if they were being broken.
Residents also suggested that investment in Revelstoke would decrease if the proposed system was approved, saying that a zoning bylaw provides certainty in what your neighbours will be, while a Temporary Use Permit could see a neighbourhood change drastically.
On the other hand, Adrian Giacca, a developer who would like to see micro-housing in Revelstoke, spoke in favour of the permit, saying it would give him an opportunity to move forward and test his ideas.
In the end Mayor Gary Sulz and councillors Nicole Cherlet, Michael Brooks-Hill, Rob Elliott and Jackie Rhind voted in favour with Cross and Younker against.
“I definitely think our world is becoming more complex so any tools that we have to become more flexible and adaptible as a community are probably good things to have at our disposal,” Rhind said.
The amendments have been sent to the province for approval and then they will come back to council for adoption.