By Dale Klippenstein. Is C7 zoning designed in part to chase Abbotsford Community Services from downtown? Abbotsford Community Services appear to be second-class property owners in the eyes of the City, the Chamber of Commerce and the ADBA. They have been property owners in their current location for many years. Abbotsford Community Services were property owners before there was an Abbotsford Downtown Business Association, before there was C7 zoning and before most of todays “mom & pop” small business owners opened their doors downtown. ACS purchased land, developed it with beautiful structures and grew their organization in full compliance with the existing bylaws of the day. Not so today, that all changed with C7 zoning.
The question I have is, “Why were they included in C7 zoning in the first place?” The zoning essentially stopped them from expanding the services they provide on their own property and everyone involved with implementing C7 zoning knew that ACS had enough property and potential to expand. How simple would it be to just NOT have them in the new special area zoned to boost Historic Downtown Abbotsford? The zoning certainly does not do anything positive for ACS. The message it sends to is, “ACS is not an asset to the downtown and not part of the ADBA’s plan for success”.
Is it possible that the opposition to low barrier housing had less to do with homeless and more to do with Abbotsford Community Services? Do the merchants and property owners of the ADBA want them to leave? If that is what they want, it would surely provide the missing piece of the story. It would help me understand why putting homeless people in homes at no cost to the downtown merchants was viewed as a bad thing. Rather than driving Abbotsford Community Services from downtown, allowing this facility would have entrenched ACS in the downtown permanently.