PRINCE GEORGE - City homeowners will soon have an option to accommodate new housing, with Council approving a city-wide change to the Official Community Plan, covering ten different zones. The changes would allow the construction of carriage houses or cottage houses on their properties.
There were some concerns expressed during the public hearing about the scope of the changes.
“The Official Community Plan is not static and people recognize that change will happen in response to needs in the community,” states Jacqueline McLaughlin, who was opposed to the changes. “This proposal seeks to rezone a multitude of zoning designations in one sweeping proposal.”
There were also concerns that the OCP changes will address affordable housing when the rents for those properties would be costly.
But the General Manager of Planning and Development pointed out this amendment is designed to provide options.
Speakers in favour spoke of the need for this with an ageing population.
“We're stepping into the 21st Century,” noted one of the speakers.
In the end, it was a unanimous decision by Council.
“This makes sense in my view,” said Councillor Albert Koehler.
“It's a no-brainer,” stated Councillor Jillian Merrick, who says as the Chair of the Student Needs Committee continually hears about the trials students finding in finding housing.
The nature of the new bylaw means that homeowners wishing to build a second house on their property must, first, get a development permit followed by a building permit to ensure the form and character are reviewed by the City for facade materials, buffering, siting, parking setbacks and access.
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