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Bylaw amendments could give city bigger financial hammer to deliver compliance

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
December 18th, 2020

Non-compliance with land-use issues in the city could come with a big stick if a new amendment to the Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw passes into law.

City council and Development Services are advancing amendments to Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw to introduce additional ticket categories.

Those tickets — under the Off-Street Parking and Landscape Bylaw, Traffic, Subdivision as well as the Zoning bylaws — will help the city to enforce compliance with environmental regulations, such as minimum site permeability and bicycle parking requirements, noted city planner Alex Thumm in his report to council on the matter.

With all of the changes, the biggest bite will be a $500 ticket for non-compliance with an order from an approving officer or a building inspector, Thumm noted, one which could be assessed and accrued daily until compliance is achieved.

Coun. Rik Logtenberg wondered earlier in the Dec. 7 regular council meeting how the meter would stop running on such a potentially expensive ticket.

“If I pay my penalty, is it one and done or does it come back?” if the issue is not resolved, he asked.

If there is a land use issue at stake and not a parking ticket, the idea is the penalty will keep accumulating and tickets could be issued every month if a resolution is not achieved, Thumm explained.

The tickets would generate on a monthly cycle if compliance was not obtained, but could increase in frequency if needed, he said.

“Theoretically, we could issue the same ticket every day, so $500 every day,” Thumm said.

In his report Thumm said “providing for a bylaw ticket may reduce staff time required for enforcement, particularly in complex cases involving work being done on city property, as issuing a ticket can involve significantly less staff time than pursuing other means of enforcement.”

Council passed the first two readings on each bylaw’s amendments. Once adopted by council, the updated consolidated bylaw will be posted on the city’s website.

Land Development Procedures Bylaw

The changes under this bylaw pertain to the removal of a development notice sign, required for rezoning and temporary use permit applications, as well as cannabis licensing.

A new ticket ($200) is proposed for cases when a sign is left up for longer than one week of an application closing.

Previously, once an application was approved, rejected or withdrawn, the city had no leverage to require that the sign be removed.

“In addition to being unsightly, defunct development signage results in inquiries being made to Development Services about applications that are no longer being considered,” noted the city staff report to council.

Off-Street Parking and Landscape Bylaw

New tickets are being proposed for existing regulations, including:

  • failure to comply with parking design and/or driveway access regulations ($300);
  • failure to comply with loading space requirements ($300);
  • failure to comply with bicycle parking requirements ($300);
  • failure to maintain the minimum permeable and/or landscaped area on a lot ($300); and
  • failure to comply with landscaping requirements ($300).

The fines align with similar ticket categories under this bylaw.

Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw

A $500 ticket is being proposed for failure to comply with an order of the approving officer or the building inspector with respect to noncompliance with the bylaw.

“This will permit the city to issue a ticket for sustained noncompliance with any part of this bylaw,” Thumm said in his report.

Traffic Bylaw

There were seven new tickets being added to the bylaw under traffic, all pegged at $50, with a further seven proposed to be $300.

There are fines proposed for several regulations where no ticketing authority previously existed, including public rights-of-way and public land.

“At present, there is no bylaw enforcement ticket for cases where someone has built a structure on the right-of-way or public lands,” said Thumm in his report. “As the Traffic Bylaw contains a section prohibiting structures being built on or over city lands without permission, the ticket must refer back to the Traffic Bylaw.”

The amendments include:

  • parking a vehicle in excess of maximum weight or length for over four hours within a residential area ($50);
  • failure to remove dirt, debris or other material from sidewalk ($50);
  • altering or stopping the flow of water ($50);
  • littering ($50);
  • noise and advertising ($50);
  • failure to maintain trees or vegetation ($50); and
  • failure to maintain boulevard ($50).

Other, more expensive, tickets include:

  • failure to secure a load ($300);
  • failure to safeguard and/or remove spillage from a vehicle ($300);
  • failure to obtain a permit for construction where the highway is occupied ($300);
  • failure to comply with a permit issued ($300);
  • impeding traffic, damage to highways ($300);
  • failure to comply with regulations concerning structures over highways or public land ($300); and
  • failure to comply with property access requirements ($300).

Zoning Bylaw

Tickets for new lot coverage regulations are being proposed to ease enforceability of the new rules.

— Source: Alex Thumm, City of Nelson, staff report

Categories: General

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