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Coombs director skeptical about secondary suites bylaw

CANDACE WU

news@pqbnews.com

A new policy proposal permitting secondary suites in rural areas, which would see inspections to pre-existing land parcels, is being thrown back to regional district staff .

"We've always been opposed to regional district inspections," said Area F director Julian Fell after the RDN's electoral area planning committee meeting Tuesday. "That's not going to fly in my area."

Fell said Coombs, Hilliers and Errington have "been a community since the get go" and as a result, houses a lot of home-based businesses on subdivided land, which is why the secondary suite proposal won't work for his constituents.

"Because of the relatively late imposition on zoning and inspection in our area, we have a lot of stuff that's grandfathered legitimately," said Fell. "The plan the regional district wants to bring forward in order to sort of normalize all these suites is to go through an inspection process."

Furthermore, Fell said most of the suites in his district are "technically legal, so it's not a case of legalizing and illegalizing, it's a case of recognition."

Despite his reservations about inspections, Fell said he is in support of the project and would like to see it go through.

"It has the potential of almost doubling housing units without having to subdivide and it's helping people who can no longer afford the expensive land to pay for it so in that sense it's good."

Fell said he will meet with RDN staff in the coming weeks to discuss making necessary adjustments to the project. RDN manager of long range planning Paul Thompson said staff will accommodate director Fell’s requests and resubmit the proposal at the Jan. 28 regular RDN board meeting, where the 10 recommendations will be up for adoption. Once adopted the project will proceed to public hearing.

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