–article opened through sponsorship
A local matter SPN has been following over the past couple of years is that of a business owner who is has been doing business for 16+ years, in contravention of Sooke zoning bylaws.
Last year, that business owner was given an intermunicipal business license (most commonly used by mobile businesses). That license was promptly revoked. Legal wranglings ensued, most of which we don’t know about as those kinds of matters are kept in-camera (behind closed doors).
What emerged was the invention of an on-the-fly category of “historic non-conforming” businesses, identified as businesses operating illegally (this is the “non-conforming” part) since 2010 or earlier (this is the “historic” part), and a new “temporary use permit.”
The idea behind it was that, once approved, historic non-conforming businesses (and while there may be more council was only dealing with one) would apply for this temporary use permit. Council would deliberate their application, and if approved, they would give the applying business a term of no longer than two years (with one allowable renewal) to work towards zoning compliance. This would give Council a “start over” button that would enable them for once and for all to deal with previous years of municipal neglect. The costs of the public hearings associated with this change in the Official Community Plan was paid for by the business owner in question.
The date given to the one business (located at 5536 Sooke Rd ) in question was February 8, 2019. That date has come and gone. No application has been received by Council.
Given that no contingency was planned for, it appears the District is back at square one. Sooke CAO Don Schaffer said that the District will first work toward compliance.
“There is an expectation by some of quick and decisive action,” he wrote in an email, perhaps optimistically adding in conversation that there’s some possibility that it could be resolved by this summer. “We will be acting in the public interest after we have decided which of the options will be the most effective.”
Schaffer added that he won’t discuss enforcement possibilities at this time, saying “that would be unwise from the District’s perspective.” Legal matters and issues concerning specific businesses and identifiable individuals are always discussed in-camera.
SPN reached out to the business owner for comment, and at the time of publication we have not yet heard anything back.
- Applicant driving the temporary use permit misses deadline to apply
- One single business (who the Gatewood Residential rezoning wasn’t about) has until the end of Feb to apply
- Sooke seals the deal, allows temporary use permits in Gateway area
- Controversial “house-keeping” bylaw passes Council scrutiny, public hearing in January
- New council cautiously defers text amendment to zoning bylaw, regarding temporary use permits
- Letter: Councillor puts District at risk, admits liability in public meeting
- Closing act: Sooke Council narrowly passes OCP amendment
- Delegation: Derek Lewers presents years of frustration to Sooke Council
- Long-established business with improper zoning & licensing plagues politicians, business owner and neighbours
- Letter: Tonight’s agenda includes allowing temporary business permits
- The one business referenced by Parkinson is a property along Sooke Road was purchased after the District of Sooke incorporated in 1999. Since it was purchased after incorporation, “grandfathering” of land usage is not applicable.
- The property has long been used to run a welding business. According to information from an October meeting, the estimate length of time that this business was in operation is over 16 years.
- In 2008, the business owner was refused a business licence on the grounds that his type of work was not permissible for the zoned land use.
- On Feb 12, 2004, a municipal planner sent a letter to the land owner, saying the welding operations were not not permitted, and that the business owner was to cease and desist.
- In 2017, staff under the direction of the former CAO issued a mobile business licence to the business owner (commonly assigned to mobile contractors), and then a few weeks later requested council to rescind it.
- A recent re-zoning request failed as it was outside of the parameters set by the OCP.
- In their final 2018 Council meeting, the last council narrowly passed an OCP amendment that would allow for a new category of “Historic non-conforming” business (operating illegally since 2010 or earlier) to apply for a Temporary Use Permit allowing them to legally operate on a temporary basis (up to 2 years with an option of one renewal).
- The deadline for application for this particular business owner was February 8, 2019. That date has come and gone, and no application has been made.
Note: We are purposefully not naming the business. Google the address. You’ll get there.