Garage suite sites further restricted through regulation changes

During the final meeting of their terms, Tuesday night, Sylvan Lake councillors:

During the final meeting of their terms, Tuesday night, Sylvan Lake councillors:

• passed a bylaw to amend the land use bylaw to create garage suite regulations.

The changes will allow garage suites to be located throughout the community, in current districts where they’re already allowed, but on a limited basis. The proposals were made “to integrate garage suites into neighbourhoods with less of an impact to the area and adjacent land owners,” said a report from planner Kim Devlin.

After first reading an amendment was added that garage suites wouldn’t be allowed where adjacent residential dwellings are less than 20 feet in height. However this posed issues for staff and property owners and was proposed for removal.

Councillor Sean McIntyre questioned that and wondered what would prevent garage homes from towering over neighbouring properties.

“The very fact that it’s a discretionary use and is coming to MPC (Municipal Planning Commission) for approval. We can’t deal with every conceivable idiosyncrasy,” said Councillor Ken MacVicar. “My suggestion is it’s been tightened up as much as we can. MPC will become the first authority in this case.”

“I feel we’ve covered our bases, protected privacies,” added Councillor Dale Plante. “We have teeth in it now.”

Councillor Laverne Asselstine was concerned about the additional work it would create for MPC. He’d previously proposed scrapping the entire garage suite regulations and starting over instead of trying to amend them.

“I think we’ve tweaked it enough, let’s move forward,” said Councillor Graham Parsons. “I understand the reason for garage suites, they’re restricted enough, I don’t think we’ll see many anyway.”

Councillors unanimously approved both second and third reading of the bylaw, after removing the section about height of adjacent buildings.

• approved support for Lacombe County’s application for funding under the provincial Regional Collaboration Grant to commence an in-depth study to determine suitability of a site for a managed boat launch at Range Road 2-1.

The town is a member of Sylvan Lake Access Committee which was formed to address issues of lake access and management of lake access.

Representatives from Red Deer and Lacombe counties met with provincial government representatives at the site in July and agreed it “could be considered for a managed boat launch”.

“It must be stressed that this was not site approval but an agreement that the site was worthy of further examination,” stated a report presented by council by Betty Osmond, the town’s chief administrative officer.

With the grant a detailed study will be undertaken to look at suitability of the site, draft inter-municipal agreements for funding, construction and ongoing operation and examine broader issues of managing public access on the lake.

• received for information a report on soft sided structures and approvals since they were permitted through bylaw changes in 2010.

• agreed to proclaim Oct. 17 as The Day for the Eradication of Poverty in Sylvan Lake.

• heard from staff on progress detailed in some of the 51 third quarter project reports and accepted the package for information.

Several motions were made to extend timelines and budgets for specific projects.

The Northeast Area Concept Plan and Southeast Area Concept Plan projects have been combined into one plan called the East Expansion Study after concerns were raised by Red Deer County and residents. The main focus of the plan will be servicing. The completion date was extended from September 2013 to January 2014 as the planning department is waiting for engineering services to be contracted, said Devlin.

• met from 5:30 to 9:15 p.m. before going into an in-camera session to discuss two legal and one land issue. They had to pass a motion to continue meeting at 8:30 because they’d been in session for three hours.