Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Summer car shelters not allowed in Timmins

It is now almost certain that portable car shelters will not be allowed to be set up in front yards of Timmins residential areas in the summer after all.
City council has indicated it will formally give passage to a new bylaw next Monday that will restrict the use of tent-style car shelters in front yards to the winter months only.
Car shelters in side yards and back yards of residential properties may go up for a period of three years, at which time the owner must apply for new permission, from the committee of adjustment.
Car shelters on residential properties in rural areas, however, will be allowed to be set up on a permanent basis, on any part of the property.
The shelters must not exceed 240 square feet in area and they must be kept in good condition and securely anchored.
The issue of the tent-style car shelters first came before city council earlier this year in response to complaints from citizens.
The Timmins zoning bylaw allows for temporary shelters only during winter months, from October 1 to April 30.
In recent years many citizens have put shelters up and have left them up on a year round basis, taking advantage of the fact that no action would be taken by the bylaw officer unless there was a complaint by neighbors.
“One of the things that has happened in the past is that this has not been enforced. And this is what has lead to a bit of a fuss,” said city councillor Pat Bamford on Monday.
“If they are up at the wrong time of the year, It’s appropriate for people to call city hall and ask that the bylaw be enforced. I know people don’t like to tell on their neighbors, but this is the only way this thing is going to work,” said Bamford.
Some citizens feel the shelters are worthwhile to protect their vehicles from the weather. Others feel the shelters reflect poorly on the neighborhood.
City council had been struggling to change the zoning the bylaw to allow for year round shelters in the front area of a property, provided there were no complaints from the neighbors.
“There has to be a way we can manage and keep the tent structures to a minimum and I think we’ve reached that,” said Bamford.
Feedback from citizens has indicated that while most citizens will tolerate the car shelters in their residential neighborhoods in the winter, most are not willing to see the shelters stay up all year round.
“The vast majority of people do not want these as permanent structures,” Bamford told council.
The common complaints were that the shelters were noisy as they flapped in the wind and that they devalued the look of a neighborhood.
Councillor Denis Saudino said the main concern is that shelters will not be allowed in front yards during the summer.
“I think council did the right thing,” said Saudino. ”I think we have to do what’s best for the majority of residents.”

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