Council briefs: City creates new zone to allow for smaller, affordable homes

Key discussions from city council meeting April 23

New zoning for smaller, more affordable homes

The City of Terrace has created a new zoning category to allow for smaller, single-detached homes. It’s hoped this will diversify the current real estate market, adding more affordable options to the mix.

The new zone, designated RB1 for Barelands Strata Single-Detached Residential, would allow owners to design and construct their own buildings on the designated property with garbage pick-up and other amenities shared between residents. City staff hope this will provide new single detached dwellings at a more affordable price for first-home buyers or empty-nesters.

An amendment to rezone the property at 4921 Halliwell Ave. from R3 (low-density, multi-family residential) to this new RB1 zone was also presented. This would allow property owner CDG Custom Contracting to subdivide the property into smaller lots while keeping costs low.

READ MORE: City advocates for smaller, residential lot sizes

Tax exemption changes

Six Terrace group homes no longer qualify for tax exemption under new changes brought forward to Terrace council.

The city’s Permissive Tax Exemptions for Non-Profit Organizations was amended for the first time since 2001 to “develop a policy that’s easier for the public to understand and less challenging for staff to administer.”

The changes clearly identify short-term, non-rental housing like Ksan Society’s emergency shelter and transition house as eligible for tax exemption. Group homes like the six run by the Terrace and District Community Services Society (TDCSS) would no longer qualify under this new language because they are more long-term and not open to the public, the city says.

The city says TDCSS is aware changes are coming, as this would likely affect their budget in 2020.

Farm to School BC

Schools in Terrace could see more opportunities and funding to access locally grown food.

Margo Peill, northwest region community animator for Farm to School BC, spoke about the provincial program to city council. The program’s Northwest hub launched in January.

READ MORE: Farm to School BC launches hub in Terrace

Farm to School BC provides grants to individual schools to fund their own programs while bringing them into this network. Cultivating direct farmer relationships, organizing tasting activities, creating school gardens and cooking classes are some examples of what the program could look like.

The program has grown to nine schools in Northwest B.C. since 2014, including two schools in Terrace, Peill says.

Development variances

Council issued two variance permits for properties at 4305 Lakelse Avenue and 3909 Cory Drive.

The first would allow the homeowner to build a secondary landing and staircase leading into their modular home with a maximum area of 6.69 square metres. This is an increase of the original maximum area of 2.35 square metres.

The second would allow for an accessory building to be constructed on the southwest corner of one property on Cory Drive where the new subdivisions are being built. The variance allows for the structure to be 30 per cent larger than the permitted size.

Single residential homes skyrocket

Building permits have soared by at least 120 per cent in March, with the city passing out 38 permits last month in comparison to the 17 given out over the same time last year.

Valued at more than $3.3 million in total, most of the building permit revenue last month comes from seven new single-residential permits worth $2.1 million.

Altogether, the 58 building permits valued at $5.6 million have been given out so far this year. This blasts through 2018 year-to-date comparisons, which saw almost $1.7 million in revenue, and the city’s 10-year $2.9 million average.

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