A Yorkton Chamber of Commerce Luncheon last Thursday gave attendees a look at how Yorkton’s property bylaws compare against those of other prairie cities.
Jim Walters of Crosby Hanna & Associates, the consulting firm brought on by the City of Yorkton to help update its Official Community Plan, Zoning Bylaw, and Sign Bylaw, gave the presentation as an update on his company’s work prior to the submission of an official report to the city this fall.
Yorkton’s bylaws differ from other Saskatchewan and Alberta cities in some significant ways, said Walters. For instance, stringent requirements on the presence of landscaped spaces in parking lots and on the size of parking stalls result in Yorkton parking lots taking up more space for a given number of stalls than in other cities. The high minimum widths for residential and business lots and the restriction of buildings to no more than eight storeys tall also have the effect of lowering urban density. Loosening these restrictions and permitting residential garage or garden suites (something not currently allowed in any of the cities studied) could increase Yorkton’s density and reduce the city’s upkeep costs, said Walters.
Many of Yorkton’s regulatory differences from other cities are not necessarily good or bad, noted Walters. For example, the city’s unique landscaping standards result in better landscapes and more green areas, but may be viewed as excessively restrictive by developers. The consulting company’s final recommendation on these issues will be seen in its fall report.
Other regulatory areas highlighted in the presentation—areas where changes could be coming in the future—included the city’s loose restrictions on home-based businesses and residential secondary suites.
Provisions addressing secondary suites are already in the works at City Hall.