Sidney council criticized for zoning bylaw process

Residents react to Sidney council's handling of zoning bylaw at June 11 vote

I was completely astounded at the imperviousness of Sidney town council at the meeting on Monday, June 11.

There was obviously a strong request from the local population for reviewing the new zoning bylaw. People felt they had not been clearly informed about the zoning (and more importantly, the consequences) and appealed to council to reconsider their vote.

Council had already made its decision before the meeting. I still cannot believe I watched our councillors act in such a manner.

Anthea C.S. McLauchlan

Sidney

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Council passed bylaw 2015, despite the opposition of over 90 per cent of affected property owners. A rather bizarre version of a council meeting, it included Mayor Larry Cross cautioning audience members they could not mention bylaw 2015, despite the fact that it was why we were all there.

Property owners were not properly informed that their single family properties were about to become non-conforming. Councillors Tim Chad and Marilyn Loveless commented that there was a failure in communication.

Tim Chad deserves honourable mention for being the only one opposing this travesty.

With the strike of a gavel, my property and 60-plus other homes are no longer zoned for single family use.

I phoned each of the banks in Sidney, two told me they wouldn’t approve a mortgage on a non-conforming property. I also discovered that if my house burns down the town might not give me a permit to rebuild. Anybody buying my house would not get a permit to make structural changes, decreasing its value to any prospective buyer.

Coun. Loveless stated we could apply to get our zoning returned to what it had been. She neglected to mention that a rezoning application is $1,900 and a board of variance application, $400. If your appeal is unsuccessful the town keeps your money. Gosh, I feel better already. Would a board appointed by the town council actually reverse the decision?

There was a petition signed by nearly 100 per cent of affected property owners which the town refused to accept.

Some people rob you with a gun; some do it with a ball point pen. I’m looking forward to the next municipal election.

Murray Pettinger

Sidney

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An audible gasp ran through the capacity crowd filling the Sidney council chamber for Monday’s meeting when the mayor opened proceedings by declaring he would not listen to their concerns.

Earlier in the day a petition signed by some 60 people protesting the devaluation of their properties without notice was not accepted by town staff.

Following this remarkable feat of Canadian democracy it must be forgiven if those present, many of whom helped put the mayor in the chair he now occupies, are now predicting a short political career for Larry Cross.

Joe van de Laar

Sidney