New regs for garages and out buildings

Yorkton Council has passed amendments to its Zoning Bylaw as it pertains to accessory building use regulations.

Council has given first reading to the amendments at its Apr. 23 meeting.

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The proposed Bylaw was advertised for three consecutive weeks in the local newspaper, on the City’s website, and at City Hall, Michael Eger Director of Planning, Building & Development with the City told the regular meeting of Council Monday.

The proposed Bylaw was presented to the Planning & Infrastructure Commission at their May 2. Discussion was largely in consideration of the absence of regulations relating specifically to fabric covered structures, allowing garages and play structures to a maximum height of two storeys rather than one, and allowing residential use within accessory buildings, added Eger.

Accordingly, the Commission carried a motion to recommend approval of the Bylaw, conditional to:

*Exempting play structures from the maximum one-storey height requirement; and
*Allowing for development of a second storey within a detached garage, provided that vehicular access could be provided directly to a street, the building be connected to the City’s water and sewer infrastructure (regardless of use), and the building height not exceed the height of the principal dwelling.

“Administration identified that the proposed regulations were silent to fabric covered structures. The proposed requirement for accessory buildings to “be designed to complement the appearance and exterior finishing of the principal building” would essentially prohibit these,” said Eger.

As a result Eger said, in consideration of Council and Commission feedback, Administration proposes the following amendments to the proposed Bylaw:

*Due to affordability, ease of installation and popularity, that fabric covered structures no larger than 22.3 square metres (240 sq ft) be allowed. If the vehicle access is not to a street or lane, these structures would share the same 0.6 m (two ft) setback requirement of garden sheds. These structures would also count towards the maximum of three accessory buildings and maximum area of 1,036 sq ft.
*That play structures be exempted from the single storey height limitation. Under the proposed definition, this would only apply to those play structures that are CSA approved, or to those that are otherwise professionally designed (by an Engineer or Architect). DIY structures, therefore, would not be exempt unless the design is stamped and approved by a professional engineer or architect.
*That accessory buildings be permitted to have second storey development. Administration had previously not been in support of this over concerns related to privacy, residential occupancy, difficulty/expense of servicing with City water and sewer connections, back alley maintenance, and barriers to emergency response. As such, it is proposed that a height exemption allow for second storey development.

Councillor Aaron Kienle said that while most of the amendments made sense, he questions if restrictions on home-based businesses and secondary suites in lofts above garages was going too far. He said being open to vacation rental and bed and breakfasts “is something to me that is quite progressive.”

Coun. Mitch Hippsley was in agreement with Kienle, suggesting he sees home businesses in many cities. He said we tell people to come to Yorkton because it’s a progressive city but then don’t allow something like a business in a garage loft.

“I work in big cities and see it every day,” he said.

Eger said once businesses or habitation are allowed the regulations change significantly.

“It’s a whole different level of building codes, fire codes, what we are responsible for,” he said.

Mayor Maloney agreed the regulations would be very different, adding it is the city’s “obligation to protect residents.”

Eger suggested if Council wanted to revisit home business and secondary suites it could be done after passage of the amendments as proposed.

Council would pass second and third readings Monday, although Hippsley and Kienle sat opposed to the final passage.

However, Council then passed a motion to have City Administration prepare a report on home-based businesses and secondary suites. City Manager Lonnie Kaal said it should be possible to have such a report to Council before the end of the year.

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