A new bylaw could make more than 20 existing strata corporations in Qualicum Beach legal non-conforming, which one councillor said could impact property values when it comes time to sell.
The unrestricted residential bylaw was originally brought forward by Coun. Neil Horner in July, as a way to end strata age restrictions in the Town of Qualicum Beach. Horner said he sees age restrictions as little different from restrictions based on ethnicity.
“I strongly urge council to support and take a progressive step toward making Qualicum Beach a more healthy and inclusive community,” he said.
Council was voting on second reading for the land use and subdivision bylaw amendment, as well as a public hearing for December, but planning director Luke Sales suggested pushing the public hearing back to January.
Sales said that, of the 25 strata corporations in the town, only four responded to a town call-out to opt out of the unrestricted residential bylaw.
When the bylaw was first discussed, Sales said, in order to make sure the process was fair and didn’t alienate any of the strata corporations that had already implemented their strata bylaws, council directed staff to notify each strata and give them an opportunity to opt out of the town bylaw.
“I do know, having discussed it with some of the property management corporations, that some of the strata did not respond simply on the basis that they’re confident that they’ll continue to be legal non-conforming and that’s OK. They don’t need to be explicitly excluded from the bylaw,” Sales said.
The unrestricted residential bylaw would make existing strata corporations with age restrictions legal non-conforming.
But Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer said he has an issue with the term legal non-conforming.
“We don’t want to take and make a legal conforming use of property non-conforming, because that has an effect on value no matter what you say when it comes time to sell your property,” Luchtmeijer said.
Luchtmeijer said the concept of the bylaw amendment is good and needs to be applied to new construction only.
“Future developments should meet these requirements, but there shouldn’t be any discussions about previous developments,” Luchtmeijer said.
“Past developments obtain the rights when they developed and I think they are entitled to maintain those rights.”
Mayor Teunis Westbroek said council doesn’t need to be quick to act on this bylaw amendment and make a motion to defer back to staff to address the issue of legal non-conforming so current residents don’t feel like they lost value on their homes.