Council must move on ‘monster home’ issue

Council members have continued to say this is a complicated issue. It is not.

I am a home owner in Oak Bay and I am just wondering what’s going on?

I have been following the monster house issue since my neighbours and I have noticed that there are more and more going up.

Oak Bay council has said it is against them, but for years now, nothing has been done to correct our zoning bylaw that was inappropriately changed in 2007 to allow them.

Since that time, staff informed council they have received many complaints and there appears to be an inconsistency in our zoning bylaws.

In April 2012 our current mayor, who was on the committee that recommended the suspect 2007 zoning changes, was asked by council to review this over-development issue and report back.

Following this there were many more written complaints as well as many resident delegations and presentations about this zoning change that dramatically altered house size.

The concern was owners who built their homes under the previous rules had to ensure it was appropriate to the lot – the 2007 change however, allowed a much bigger house, garage and ancillary buildings. This permitted many trees to be cut and neighbouring homes lost privacy, sunlight and views. No action was taken by council.

Council members have continued to say this is a complicated issue. It is not.

Staff has clearly explained the old bylaw served Oak Bay well for 20 years and was fair to all. Staff provided council with an extensive report on this problem that included zoning ratio reinstatement options. Council disregarded these options.

In contrast Sooke council who had a similar zoning change problem simply repealed the offending bylaw and committed to consulting existing residents about any new zoning changes.

Finally in early 2013, a floor area ratio committee was struck. Now, 10 months later an announcement on Dec. 4 states Oak Bay council is inviting a long list of property developers from all over the CRD to provide input into how they want to see Oak Bay’s lots developed.

I am not convinced, given the profit motive, this group will provide unselfish, unbiased information and have Oak Bay’s residents’ best interests at heart.

Mary Douglas

Oak Bay

 

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