Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Timmins car shelter bylaw still not final

Timmins city council appears to be in agreement that it will not be approving the idea of portable car shelters in the front yards of residential areas on a year round basis.
Council discussed the issue again Monday in light of numerous complaints councillors received after the issue was revealed in The Timmins Times.
Council has already had first and second readings on a bylaw to regulate the tent-style car shelters in Timmins. Currently, the Timmins zoning bylaw allows for the tent shelters to be set up in front yards only, during the winter months, from October 1 to April 30.
The bylaw current allows shelters in sideyards and backyards, however, on a year round basis.
In view of complaints from shelter owners who want the right to have shelters up on a year round basis, the city’s planning department was asked to submit various options for council to consider.
One of the options would place a three-year limit on shelters, thus forcing shelter owners to apply to the committee of adjustment every three years, for permission. Another option was to allow residents to apply to the committee of adjustment for permission to have a shelter in the front area of their property year round. That option would require agreement from all the neighbors where the shelter would be located.
The majority of council members did not appear in favour of those ideas.
Several letters from the public also indicated that while many city residents tolerate the shelters in the winter, they are not in favour of seeing car shelters in the summer.
Councillors also report they have received direct complaints from citizens.
Councillor Mike Doody told council that many residents are okay with the shelters in the winter, “but once Spring comes, they want them down.”
“There has to be a standard,” said Doody.
Councillor Pat Bamford said, “of all the calls I’ve had, and I have a few… they are strongly against any permanent structure front or back.”
Bamford add that neighbors get annoyed by the sound of the tents flapping in the wind and the fact that the shelters begin to deteriorate after a few years becoming “unsightly.”
It’s expected council will discuss the issue at least once again before voting on a final version of the bylaw. In the meantime, the current bylaw still stands.

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