Town Council looks for extended home business classifications

Council also discussed water and sewer flat rates and pay parking program

Sylvan Lake Town Council is looking for more information about running a business out of a home occupation.

Calvin Symington provided a report to Council on taxi businesses and how they relate to home occupations.

While Council did receive the report as information, they were not happy with the destinations provided for home based businesses and how a taxi business would fit into those classifications.

There are three home occupation classifications as defined by the Town’s bylaws.

Class A home occupation is defined as “the secondary use of a principal dwelling unit by a permanent resident of the dwelling to conduct a business activity or occupation.” In this classification the business cannot create additional traffic or be detectable from the outside of the dwelling.

Class B home occupation is defined as “ the secondary use of a principal dwelling unit by at least one permanent resident of the dwelling to conduct a business activity or occupation.” With a Class B classification, the business may have up to six associated visits per day – to conduct a business activity or occupation. With this classification the business owner may not employ any non-residents.

The Class C classification allows at least one resident of the dwelling to conduct a business activity or occupation at the dwelling, the accessory buildings and site or a combination of the two. This classification may have one additional employee who is not a permanent resident of the dwelling.

It was Symington’s suggestion to Council that a taxi business run out of a dwelling be classified as a Class A.

“I don’t see how it could be classified as Class A,” said Coun. Megan Hanson. “It doesn’t seem to fit that category.”

Council as a whole agreed the classifications provided do not work for a taxi business. Coun. Dale Plante had issue with the number of employees a taxi business could have under the provided classifications.

“Up to one non-resident employee, so what does that mean, they all have to live in the same house?” he asked.

Coun. Jas Payne suggested Council needed classifications specific to running a taxi business out of a home. He said the provided classifications do not work for such a company.

“We shouldn’t be trying to make it fit into our classifications because it doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit,” said Payne.

Council decided to “investigate new categories” to better suit a taxi business.

A motion to have a flat water and sewer rates phased in to summer residents over two or three years was defeated by Council.

The suggestion comes from a request from Points West Association after discovering the account for the property was not being properly charged properly for fixed charges.

Legal opinion on the matter recommends against charging different or lower rates than in effect by the bylaw at the time.

“I think it would be hard to put something like that in motion for all summer residents,” said acting CAO Dave Brand.

This is because a phase in of a fixed water and sewer rate would be for all location not just Points West.

“Even those who use their own water well are charged a flat rate, they just aren’t changed a consumable rate, because they don’t use it,” said Brand.

The motion for a phase in was defeated by council.

Council received an update on the paid parking program. Over the July-long weekend, many people came to Sylvan Lake to take in the festivities.

Brand described it as the business Canada Day weekend in the past decade.

While there were complaints received about the parking, most were easily dealt with. Most of the complaints were due to faulty machines that were not working properly.

“Most people were saying the machines weren’t accepting their credit card or taking their licence plate,” said Brand, who added there were only 21 complaints received about this problem.

The faulty machines are being taken care of, as repair men were in town on July 10 looking at the problem machines.

There was a fair bit of towing happening on the Canada Day weekend, according to Brand. However these incidents were not connected to the pay parking program.

The vehicles towed were due to other outliers such as not having up to date licence plates.

At the end of the season, Council will review the pay parking program to make tweaks and changes as needed.