The proposed exterior of the new retail space for Outdoor Essentials. (Council agenda graphic)

Council Briefs: Regular meeting May 12, 2020

The business of running the town continues

Expedited approvals

Restaurateurs preparing to reopen this week got a helping hand from Smithers Town Council last week.

At a special meeting May 13, council amended its Highway Bylaw to expedite approvals for temporary patio spaces.

The issue was originally brought up at the May 12 regular meeting during which a motion was passed instructing staff to draft an amendment that authorizes the deputy mayor and CAO to approve permit requests.

“If there is some way to accommodate it, the intention is to be fast,” said Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill.

There will also be no fees for the permit applications and other businesses, such as retailers, will also be eligible to apply to use outdoor spaces.

Sound improvement

The Smithers Civic Centre may be getting a new sound system as early as this fall.

In a request to council presented at its May 12 regular meeting, the Smithers Figure Skating Club requested “Council’s Community Partnership ‘Approval in Principal’ and a letter of support.”

The club has received an initial estimate of $30,000 for the project. There are no ongoing maintenance costs.

The letter of support, which council approved, will aid the club in obtaining grant funding for the project.

“I think it’s great,” said Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill. “We’ve got a community group wanting to make an improvement that needs to be made and they’ll work with staff to get that done.”

Pantry expansion

Two more rental suites will soon be available in downtown Smithers.

At its May 12 meeting, council approved a Form and Character Development Permit for Nature’s Pantry to expand their building.

The business on First Avenue between Main and King Streets proposes to build an addition to the building to increase retail space on the first floor and add two additional residential dwellings on the second floor.

In its recommendation to council, staff noted the proposal meets all the zoning regulations for the C1-A (downtown commercial) zone except one.

The proposal includes a storage area to be built into the side of the building.

Storage areas are permitted, but only at the back of buildings.

But since the storage area will replace a small, existing auxiliary building, which is not permitted in the downtown commercial zone, staff said the new storage area will actually bring the property into greater compliance and represents a “minor variance” to the zoning bylaw.

New digs

Outdoor Essentials will be getting a new home on Main Street.

At its May 12 regular meeting, council approved a Form and Character Development Permit for the exterior and interior of the old Home Hardware building.

Outdoor Essentials intends to replace the current red metal roofing with dark green. The front doors will be pushed back to add a vestibule to the entrance, which will have a sloped wooden roof.

The large windows will be maintained, but trimmed in black. Roofline to gound wooden columns will be installed along the front of the building. The current concrete steps will be replaced by a ramp for accessibility.

The existing river stone facade along the bottom of the building will be replaced by stacked sandstone bricks.

Staff reported the proposal meets all the requirements of the C1 (town centre commercial) zone.

Zoning amendment

Council has taken another step toward allowing secondary suites in semi-detached buildings in the R-2 (low density residential) zone.

Currently only fully detached homes may have a secondary suite.

At its May 12 regular meeting, council passed the second reading of an amendment to the zoning bylaw permitting secondary suites as an auxiliary use.

The rationale behind the change is to make purchasing a home more affordable for more British Columbians and provide more residential units for renters.

The Town must now seek approval from the Ministry of Transportation and hold a public hearing before moving on to third reading and adoption.

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