Council Approves One-Tiime Recovery House Bylaw Changes

By October 7, 2013Municipal Politics

UPDATED 07/10/17 20:26 Abbotsford City Council approved an application for a one-time rezoning for a supportive recovery home for women on Melmar Avenue at their regular council meeting Monday evening.

The L.I.F.E.Recovery Association applied for a zoning change under the Supportive Recovery Use Bylaw for its property at 32122 Melmar Avenue. The application dealt specifically with the distance requirements of Supportive Recovery Use to a school, a smoke filter required for a shed and a change from one type of Supportive Recovery to another – Maximum 6 (six) women (5 of which will be in care).

Photo from L.I.F.E. Recovery

According to the planning department, “In 2007 Council adopted Bylaw No. 1701-2007, cited as “Abbotsford Zoning Bylaw, 1996, Amendment Bylaw No. 528.

“This amendment defines and permits Supportive Recovery Use (SRU) in all urban single family residential zones.

“Conditions on this use include limiting occupancy to a maximum of ten persons (nine residents and one staff), entering into a Housing Agreement with the City, having a valid business licence, and locating more than 200 meters from existing SRUs and schools.

“The Supportive Recovery Homes Policy is within Attachment I, Report No. EDP099-2013, for reference.

On July 22, 2013 Council authorized staff to proceed with a Neighbourhood Information Meeting, which was the next step of the SRU application review process.
The meeting was held on August 20, 2013 at Dormick Park Elementary School from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
The meeting was held in an open house format with display boards and handouts.
The handouts available included:
• the Supportive Recovery Home policy;
• Council Report No. EDP099-2013 (refer to Attachment I);
• a Sample Housing Agreement (refer to Attachment H);
• proposed operators Fact Sheet (refer to Attachment I – Attachment B);
• current neighbour’s testimonial letter (refer to Attachment D);
• One Unit Urban Residential Zone (RS3); and
• Comment Sheet (refer to Attachment C).

Regarding the safety of children, another aspect of the bylaw, the planning department had this to say about the application:

“The Zoning Bylaw requires that a Supportive Recovery House be established no closer than 200 meters from a school.

“The intent is to ensure safety for children.

“This application requires a variance to reduce the minimum proximity requirement by 10% (from 200m to 180m).
“During the Neighbourhood Information Meeting some neighbours were concerned that if this proposal was approved that the safety of young children within this neighbourhood would be put at risk.

“Staff assume that there are children in the neighbourhood, however, in a similar manner with all types of applications, have no specific information as to the number in close proximity to the subject site.
“L.I.F.E. Recovery Association operator another facility in Abbotsford which is located on Braeside Street, the existing facility share a property line with Ten-Broeck Elementary School.
“The Principal of Ten-Broeck Elementary School has provided a testimonial letter (see AttachmentE).
Further, it is quite common for some of the resident women to have children of their own who want and need this type of support to look after their own children (see Attachments F and G).

“Staff have no objection to the requested variance in proximity to the school, given this existing good track record of the operator and this testimonial of the principal of Ten-Broeck Elementary School

The planning department is recommending the approval of the variances saying, “Supportive Recovery Use houses address a critical affordable housing need and provide support to vulnerable residents.

At the same time, the City’s SRU policy protects neighbourhoods and residents to ensure SRU houses operate legally and safely.

Planning staff support this application for the re-establishment of a 6 woman Supportive Recovery Use (SRU) and Development Variance Permit for the proximity to another SRU and to a school.

For a complete copy of the Planning Department’s Report simply click here.

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