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Lantzville council reluctantly passes mandated density bylaw

Motion follows council's previous decision to seek legal advice on the matter

After some legal advice, Lantzville council has passed a motion to comply with new provincial zoning policies.

For Lantzville residents, this means property owners of all residential zoned parcels with access to municipal water and sewer services that are of a certain size are allowed to construct up to four small dwellings, allowing townhouses or row-houses.

While the motion passed, it wasn’t without reluctance by some councillors in opposition.

“Our hands are somewhat tied by the provincial legislation,” said Coun. Jonathan Lerner during the meeting June 6. “I’m not thrilled by that; I’m not necessarily thrilled that we’re required to do this.”

Coun. Joan Jones echoed that opposition, reiterating that the standards are being implemented in every B.C. municipality and “not one municipality has the option to say no.”

The purpose of the legislation, passed last fall by the province, is to “amend restrictive zoning bylaws that have resulted in a prevalence of single-family dwellings that are no longer financially attainable for many B.C. residents," noted a District of Lantzville staff report this spring.

The legislation gives municipalities leeway to determine parking requirements, building height, setbacks and parcel coverage.

An amendment to the preamble that was added by Coun. Ian Savage explained council choose a two-storey height limit because it improves affordability and “reduces the amount of stairs compared to a three-storey building which makes it safer for young children as well as helping downsizing seniors.”