Nakusp council meeting a study in decision making

If you are curious to see how decisions are directed and made at the municipal level, check out one of the Village meetings.

Last Nakusp council meeting held on June 25, 2012 was an exercise in how decisions are made and the kind of issues that face mayor, council and staff on a regular basis. If you are ever curious to see how decisions are directed and made at the municipal level, head over to one of the Village meetings.

With very little on the agenda, it was an application for a development variance that garnered the most discussion.

The application for a development variance permit for 92 6th Avenue SW was put to a vote and denied during the most recent council meeting. Both the applicants and one set of neighbours were at the meeting, and during a quick exchange, their respective concerns as well as the Village’s were brought to the table.

Nakusp’s CAO Linda Tynan prefaced the discussion by pointing out that in this case, the garage – the location of the proposed renovation – is a legally non-conforming building, and  that is why a variance is needed.

The variance is a request for the side parcel line setback to be decreased from ten feet to just under six.

The overhang, which would extend that much further due to the decrease, is a “grey area” according to Tynan.

Council did receive one letter from the owners of an adjacent property who were concerned that the renovation would affect their property adversely.

In the discussion that followed, their main concerns appeared to be twofold: the potential blocking of the lake view, and the fact that light may be blocked by a vertical addition to the garage.

The applicants replied that the vertical addition shouldn’t affect the view, and the incoming light that was blocked was around 4.8 feet. They also added that the addition was one way they were looking to supplement their income.

Councillor Joseph Hughes asked if the applicants had tried to create plans that maintained the ten foot setback, and one of the applicants asked how that could be done. The CAO suggested inset construction, and the applicant responded that option hadn’t been brought up by the designer. The applicants had changed the height and have moved the proposed construction north in response to a request from staff.

Councillor Tom Zeleznik brought up the issue that changing the ten foot setback would set a precedent.

Mayor Karen Hamling said that council must either enforce or change bylaws, and stated that she would like to send it back and get the application to conform to zoning.

In the end, council voted to deny the application, with two opposed and one in favour of approving it.