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Sooke Council Meetings: Complete Audio Recordings
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March 12 Regular Council Meeting: Public Hearing allows for manufactured homes on all RU-zoned lots in Sooke
Attendance: Mayor Maja Tait, Councillors Brenda Parkinson,
Bev Berger, Ebony Logins, Kerrie Reay, Rick Kasper, Kevin Pearson
Over the past few months, Council had been considering the role of manufactured homes in affordable housing. The item was given the spotlight by a matter pursued by one Sooke resident, Laurie Hicks, who had received verbal approval to proceed which was then later revoked. This about-face was costing Hicks a substantial amount, and she appeared several times before council to appeal the matter.
- Sooke Councillors interest in resolving an affordable housing matter at odds with staff’s need for legal and informed input (Feb 14, 2018)
- Council to consider bylaw amendment in January, allowing mobile homes on residential lots (Dec 29, 2017)
After significant to’ing-and-fro’ing with staff, Council ultimate passed first and second reading of a bylaw amendment that would allow for manufactured home (homes with Z240 certification) as a principle home in all RU-zoned lots in Sooke (in the Watershed, Forest & Agriculture Zone RU1, Rural Zone RU2, Small Scale Agriculture Zone RU3, Rural Residential Zone RU4 and Neighbourhood Rural Residential Zone RU5). This modification would not increase the number of homes allowed on a lot, it would just drop the bias against manufactured homes—one of the last affordable home-ownership options available to the general public.
After the public hearing (detailed below) held at the March 12 Council Meeting, Council discussed (further below) and passed third reading; they then voted to accept the revised Bylaw No. 696, Zoning Amendment Bylaw (600-55), 2018 (PH-1 pkg). In both cases the motions carried, with Councillors Brenda Parkinson and Kerrie Reay opposed.
The mayor indicated that a number of building permits should soon be ready for pickup.
The Details: Public Hearing
Ellen Lewers felt this was a matter that should have gone to the community. It represented a sweeping change to the face of Sooke, and something this substantial should be in the Official Community Plan. The isolated matter that was the impetus to this sweeping change should have been addressed by Council as an isolated matter. When you are changing something in the whole community, argued Lewers, that was an OCP matter.
Mr. Jarvis also had some concerns. He referenced an earlier speech from Councillor Kasper, stating that anyone opposed to manufactured housing was an elited and a bigot; OK, said Mr. Jarvis, he’ll take that. He did not want the normal trailer home peppered throughout the community. He did bring up the big clearing of manufactured homes along what is now called Brownsey Boulevard (see this article by Tim Ayres, Seaview eviction, 2008), noting that that has yet to be developed. Mayor Tait clarified that it was only in the R-zones, and not in ALL zones. Staff noted it has to have the Z240 stamp on it, and can be the width of a single or double side home.
Jeff Bateman felt this was a logical step. He acknowledged that manufactured homes have historical stigma, but they are just as good as most other homes these days. There’s no change in zoning, he observed, or in the number or homes on a lot.
Ellen Lewers approached Council a second time for clarification, asking if two manufactured homes could united and re-packaged as a duplex. Staff said that a duplex necessarily meant having a shared wall. Lewers did maintain that this broad zoning that significantly “changes our community.” We need to consider how we want our community to look, and how we want it to grow, she argued. If we’re looking to achieve some kind of a look as per an OCP, it needs to be planned. We need to go through a process of [updating] OCP. This one property cannot determine the new OCP.
The Details: Council Deliberation
Councillor Brenda Parkinson asked if the original applicant, Mrs. Hicks, had sought an exception from the board of variance. Staff noted this was not eligible for discussion on a board of variance.
Councillor Ebony Logins was upset that this was becoming an OCP discussion. For her, she wants to see that the people in Sooke are “happy and housed.” She drew an example from her travels in Belize. We shouldn’t be applying a bias of what a house looks like, as long as it’s built to code.
Councillor Rick Kasper observed that the certification process Z240 currently ensures a nice manufactured house is built. Construction of manufactured homes have gone beyond the traditional park model, he said. The style and design of this type of housing has gone through dramatic changes over the past 20 years. Former stigma associated with these types of housing should be let go. These homes, in many respects, can withstand more than regular homes because they have to endure significant road travel. He seemed to recall it was an oversight that the currently proposed wording (ie, including the Z240 manufactured home as a principle resident on RU zoned properties) was not previously included.
Councillor Kerrie Reay said she was having a struggle with this matter. She was not convinced about the Corporate Officer’s definition of duplex is good. Reay recalls previous discussion where they could be otherwise attached. Reay wanted to see the isolated matter be resolved (ie, deal with the Hicks property as a one-of), but she didn’t support the sweeping bylaw change, as she doesn’t feel the homework has been done.
Parkinson agreed with Reay, that the blanket zone modification was not thoroughly researched. Yes, we should have manufactured homes; no, it shouldn’t be a blanket modification.
Logins noted it’s not in every zone, just the RU zones. She also noted that it’s been heavily discussed at Council, this is now the third reading.
Mayor Maja Tait noted she would be supporting the amendment. She also noted it was unfair to Ms. Hicks that she is singled out, there are others in her position.
Councillor Kevin Pearson noted he was gone for much of the discussion. He liked the options it provides, and felt it gave more selection. He supported Kasper’s argument that Z240 manufactured homes do indeed follow a rigorous building code, and that the exclusion of this type of housing from the current (soon to be previous) bylaw was an oversight, in the transfer of the bylaw. He indicated his support for the change.
On that note, Council gave third reading to the bylaw cited as Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 696 (600-55), 2018 and it carried with Reay and Parkinson opposed. Council then voted to adopt the bylaw cited as Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 696 (600-55), 2018; it too carried, with Reay and Parkinson opposed.
Also discussed at the March 12 2018 meeting
- Demamiel crossing targeted for completion this fall
- A free Cirque-de-Soleil styled nighttime performance may come to Sooke this summer
- Public Hearing allows for manufactured homes on all RU-zoned lots in Sooke
- Community clean-up effort nets $5,500 from the District of Sooke
- Tentative date set for District’s grant review
SPN $10K Do-Or-Die Drive