Short term rentals and cannabis regulations are on the minds of Tiny residents.
A survey was conducted between June and July regarding new Tiny zoning bylaws, providing township staff with answers to their questions, and approximately 500 additional responses. A presentation on this first round of public consultation was given to council at a recent committee of the whole meeting.
“The feedback has been quite substantial,” stated planner Jamie Robinson of MHBC Planning Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, one of the leads for the New Tiny Zoning By-Law project.
“From a number of occurrences that words appear, the words that we heard most often in the additional comments that were provided related to shoreline, rentals, properties, and access,” said Robinson.
According to Robinson, residents have found current zoning bylaws to be “cumbersome” and would like it to be more user-friendly, both in-person and on the township website.
Zoning exceptions and minor variances, such as adding an addition to a building, were also asked about in the survey.
“What we heard was that it was appropriate to apply a sunset clause on variances for five years to ensure that they get acted on, and we’re not dealing with long-standing non-complying situations going forward” regarding historic approval or denial, said Robinson.
Specific direction relating to the regulatory framework for cannabis production was provided, including minimum setback distances from sensitive land, differential setbacks based on inner and outer operations, and other criteria for municipal locations.
Wes Crown of MHBC further clarified that as policy and regulatory changes occur in respect to cannabis production facilities, staff will work to mirror those changes appropriately in the new bylaw.
Storage containers for construction projects or the moving of house contents should be permitted, as a key direction, but should be permitted when used as permanent structures on residential lots.
Retaining walls, based on height and size, could be subject to building permit applications under the Ontario Building Code. Support for a regulatory structure regarding home occupations and home industries were made a key direction, with the intent not to impact neighbouring residences. Outdoor residential lighting for dark sky compliance was in response to complaints, according to Crown.
“There was strong support for backyard chickens being allowed in residential properties in the municipality, subject to regulations,” said Crown.
Short term rental accommodations should be regulated, according to survey respondents.
“We’re going to mirror the directions that are provided by council with respect to this wicked problem that municipalities all across Ontario are trying to deal with,” stated Crown.
No changes to secondary unit regulations were brought up, which Crown spoke to.
“That relates to those areas in the municipality where second units are permitted,” added Crown, “so council will be aware that the new official plan does not permit second units in the shoreline area.”
Another key direction stated that regulations for additional residential units in accessory structures. As well, bunkies should be permitted as part of another accessory structure and should have washroom facilities.
Crown informed council that the next step in the process for the new zoning bylaw would be to prepare and release the first draft to the public, “understanding that a draft is a draft,” and the intent to get public input is to assist the township in improving and finalizing the bylaw for council adoption.
Coun. Tony Mintoff thanked MHBC for the presentation.
“I’m just very pleased to see that we’ve finally concluded that the short term rental is probably more appropriately dealt with under the zoning bylaw rather than its own bylaw, and I think that’s rather encouraging, to me and to other affected parties,” Mintoff added.
Mayor George Cornell asked for a timeline, with Crown replying that exact dates were unavailable but a draft release and the statutory public open house would be probable for the end of September.
Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny township’s YouTube channel.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca