Re: Restrictions on unrelated occupants. Housing, affordability, good governance, generational tension, points of order and an absolutely lovely poetry reading by two young women were all on display at the Jan. 20 Saanich council meeting.
The most contentious issue up for discussion was concerning the number of unrelated persons legally allowed to live in a home located in a single-gamily zone. The current limit is four persons, the same as the vast majority of municipalities in our area.
Council had requested that staff research this issue and make a recommendation. That recommendation was six persons. Council voted for the staff recommendation of six persons, an increase of two persons. For three councilors that was not enough. Couns. Taylor, de Vries and Mersereau advocated hard for no limit. None. Let’s take a four-bedroom home in Gordon Head, move in four or five bunkbeds, charge $650 per head and you’ve got yourself a tidy little business. No oversight, no business licence, no concern for neighbours. That is the direction they seem to want to take in Saanich. I oppose that vision.
Up-Zoning, or eliminating single family zoning, is a recent strategy being looked at and implemented in some western U.S. states. The basic belief being by removing all barriers to housing types, more multi-family units will be built, or existing homes replaced with multi-family units across all areas, thus increasing housing stock and hopefully lowering prices. Noble thoughts, but not a solution for Saanich.
I believe we are moving forward in Saanich. I completely agree with the heading we are currently on to increase our housing stock. Cottage homes, replacing a single home with two smaller homes, granny suites, increasing the height of apartments in transit zones, introducing a ‘boarding house zone’ to allow for multiple persons living in one house, restricting on-street parking – I support all of it. What I do not support is unregulated, unchecked growth in our family neighbourhoods.