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Oak Bay Board of Variance under used
In the April 23 edition of the Oak Bay News was a letter about monster houses negatively affecting neighbours (Flu may come to you), and an article about the Floor Area Ratio review (Vent your views on ‘monster’ homes today).
There are other factors involved in both cases: A non conforming property has, by designation, already broken the rules of the current bylaw. It should not be given any more variances.
Variances should be considered and voted on individually.
Excessive variance requests can be reviewed and resubmitted and so gain the owner’s original intent.
Some variances have been applied for after the event, when extra floor areas were already constructed.
The Board of Variance consists of three members with “strong analytical and reasoning skills.” They do understand architectural plans, unlike most councillors. They would notice features added, subtracted or changed. They have been under used by this council.
Instead, submitted requests are going to committee of the whole and rubber stamped to continue on in the process. Why is this trio of competence being ignored?
Valid letters of objection about projects are merely received. Their contents do not figure in the minutes. Council only takes notice of personal appearances for opinions. This is not appropriate for an elderly municipal population.
Site coverage, replaced by FAR, is due to be amended again. Whatever it is next called, it should be fairly administered.
The Municipal Handbook says: “Citizens do not expect the council … to ignore its own bylaws and regulations.” Precisely so. There is no point having bylaws if council does not uphold them.