Saanich residents have been fighting to have a bylaw banning farm stands changed. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich greenlights bylaw amendment to permit roadside farm stands

Council sends matter to public hearing

The potential for farm stands in Saanich got a green thumbs up and now residents will have the chance to weigh in at a public hearing.

Current bylaws don’t permit roadside stands within the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) but some residents have been fighting for change. On June 15, council reviewed a report from staff recommending that a zoning bylaw amendment be approved to allow temporary use permits for roadside stands selling “homegrown and value-added” fruits, vegetables, flowers and homemade crafts to be operated in residential zones.

READ ALSO: Saanich farm stands can stay open

Council voted unanimously to send the bylaw to a public hearing.

The proposed bylaw would allow Saanich residents currently operating farm stands within the UCB 30 days to apply for and obtain a temporary use permit. Those wishing to open a new farm stand would not be allowed until they’ve applied for the permit.

Typically, temporary use permits are good for three years with the potential to renew for another three. Each roadside stand application would come to council and be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

READ ALSO: Saanich florist holds her ground in fight for roadside farm stands

Coun. Nathalie Chambers emphasized that farm stands will help residents “make ends meet” by “using their backyards as their bank accounts.”

The District paused enforcement of the existing bylaw on May 25 when council voted unanimously in favour of amending the bylaw so temporary use permits could be granted for farm stands.

It’s “uplifting” to see all the stands that have opened around Saanich, Haynes said, noting that he’s “a big fan” and has visited several to purchase various homemade items.

Saanich will work quickly to address permit applications so residents can access the economic benefits of farm stands as soon as possible, Haynes said. Should there be a backlog on the administrative end that affects the 30-day time limit, he expects staff will show “compassion.”

READ ALSO: Saanich jam stand at the centre of controversy prepares to close

Mayor Fred Haynes expects stands would bring vibrancy to the community, along with financial benefits. He noted there is no age limit and youth are encouraged to get involved.

No date has been set for the public hearing though municipal staff said it could be July 14 at the earliest.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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