Month: May 2019

Update on Driveway Width Bylaw Enforcement | May 2019

On Monday May 13th council will receive an update from staff on a “Procedure to Request Temporary Suspension of Enforcement of Driveway Regulations: Draft Framework”.

This is an important step in the City getting things right for property owners and renters living in semi-detached and on street townhouses. The full report from staff can be found here https://guelph.ca/wp-content/uploads/council_agenda_051319.pdf

Below is an overview of the report and recommendations from staff. If you would like to commment (or delegate) on this issue to council please submit your comments to clerks@guelph.ca.

Background
Council received Report IDE-2018-129 on September 10, 2018 in response to a Motion that proposed the temporary suspension of enforcement of specific zoning regulations relating to driveway widths to allow individual neighbourhoods to request a temporary suspension of enforcement of specific zoning regulations which relate to driveway widths of semi-detached and on-street townhouses. The temporary suspension would take place while the City undertakes a comprehensive review of Zoning By-law (1995)-14864 (herein referred to as “the ZBL”). That report provided a problem statement; background and rationale for the current regulations; an assessment of the risks/benefits of the proposed Motion; an identification of alternatives, including an assessment of associated risks/benefits; other information requested by Council; and a staff recommendation.
A Motion (see ATT-1) relating to an alternative to the staff recommendation was approved at the September 10, 2018 Council meeting. This motion directed staff to develop a process to allow individual neighbourhoods to request a temporary suspension of enforcement of specific zoning regulations which relate to driveway widths of semi-detached and on-street townhouses, while the City undertakes a comprehensive review of the ZBL.
The draft framework is being presented in order to receive by Council and public feedback. Once all feedback is reviewed, staff will bring forward the final recommended procedure early in the third quarter for Council consideration.

Procedure
To help create a level of consistency for residents and to utilize an existing administrative model, the procedure is survey based and modelled after “Traffic Services On-street Parking Reviews – Convenience Request Policy”.
The Procedure to Request Temporary Suspension of Enforcement of Driveway Regulations (herein referred to as procedure) is being designed to implement a traceable, consistent process to allow affected neighbourhoods to request and potentially receive a temporary suspension of enforcement.
The September 10, 2018 Motion (See ATT-1) directed staff to develop a procedure that would only apply to the following sections of By-law (1995)-14864 (herein referred to eligible sections):
• 4.13.7.2.3 A Driveway (Residential) in an R.2 Zone shall have a maximum driveway width of 3.5 metres;

• 4.13.7.2.4 Despite Section 4.13.7.2.3, a surfaced walk within 1.5 metres of the nearest foundation wall is permitted providing that it is not Used for parking;
• 4.13.7.2.5 The Driveway (Residential) width in an R.3B Zone shall not exceed the Garage width of the unit, as measured from the outside walls of the Garage or no more than 50% of the Front Yard, whichever is less, to a minimum of 3 metres wide. The Front Yard, excepting the Driveway (Residential) shall be landscaped and no parking shall be permitted within this Landscaped Open Space;

• The first sentence of Table 5.2.2, Row 15 (The Front Yard of any Lot, excepting the Driveway (Residential), shall be landscaped and no parking shall be permitted within this Landscaped Open Space. Despite the definition of the Landscaped Open Space, for Buildings that do not have a shared Driveway (Residential) access, a minimum area of 0.6 metres between the driveway and nearest Lot Line must be maintained as landscaped space in the form of grass, flowers, trees, shrubbery, natural vegetation and indigenous species and may include a surfaced walk in accordance with Section 4.13.7.2.4.); and
• 5.3.2.8 Maximum Driveway (Residential) Width of R.3B Zone On-Street Townhouses shall comply with 4.13.7.2.5.

Eligibility
The approved Motion (see ATT-1) offered guidance to staff on the performance standards of which types of properties would be eligible for a temporary suspension. Temporary suspension of enforcement would only apply to properties with a semi-detached dwelling or on-street townhouse that comply with the ZBL or are non-complying but can meet the following performance standards and are not currently in legal action:
• The Driveway (Residential) is no wider than 5 metres;
• The Driveway (Residential) does not have a negative impact on lot drainage;
• No hard surface is located closer than a 1.5m setback from a municipally
owned or boundary tree and there is no loss or damage to the tree;
• The remaining Front Yard, excepting the Driveway (Residential) is landscaped and no parking is occurring within that landscaped Open Space;
• The boulevard portion of the Driveway (Residential) does not exceed 3.5 meters; and
• The City-owned water shut off valve(s) is not located within any portion of the driveway that exceeds the ZBL sections as listed above.

An owner of a semi-detached dwelling or on-street townhouse that can meet the above performance standards may apply in writing on behalf of the “neighbourhood” (see later discussion on survey area) to request a temporary suspension of enforcement.
In addition, a standard form will be made available online and will also be sent to eligible properties with an open enforcement file (providing that legal action has not commenced).

Review by City Staff
Upon receipt of a request, staff will review the request to ensure that the eligibility criteria can be met and that a previous survey request had not been already reviewed in relation to a prior survey. A survey request will only be considered once in relation to a survey area. If the eligibility criteria can be met and a previous survey had not been previously completed, a survey will be sent by staff to the property owner(s) of the survey area, and the Ward Councillors will be notified.

Survey
Staff are proposing the use of a typical mail out survey to the affected area. The mail out would include a letter explaining the survey and a form that could be filled, signed and returned to City Hall and would be sent to the registered owner of the property (as per MPAC records). These mail outs would also include information on how to complete an online version of the survey (similar to those used for on-street parking reviews). In order to provide an opportunity to respond, owners of the affected area will be provided with fifteen business days (3 weeks) from the time of the mail out to complete and return survey. One response per property will be accepted. Ward Councillors will be notified at the time a survey mail out is conducted.

Results
Once the survey ends, Staff will advise the requestor of the survey, the affected residents, and Ward Councillors of the survey results. In order for a temporary suspension to occur, more than 50% of the surveyed area will be required to respond in favour of a temporary suspension. If more than 50% of the property owners respond in favour of a temporary suspension, the temporary suspension will automatically come into effect. The temporary suspension of enforcement would only apply to the eligible sections and only to surveyed properties with a semi- detached dwelling or on-street townhouse that meet the minimum performance standards. Given the transparency of the procedure and that the decision will be based on majority rule, there will be no appeal process or opportunity to conduct a second survey. Additionally, the temporary suspension of enforcement would only be in place until such time as the new ZBL has been passed and is in full force and effect, at which time owners of affected properties will be notified that the suspension is over.

Conclusion
The Request for Temporary Suspension of Driveway Enforcement Procedure meets the intent of the Motion by allowing a transparent and consistent process for affected residents to apply for, and potentially receive, a temporary suspension of enforcement until a new ZBL has been passed and is in full force and effect.

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