Councillor Rob Foster and I held a Ward Meeting a week ago today and about fourteen people came out. We advertised in the local paper and handed out flyers in some neighbourhoods that had specific issues we are aware of.
It was an informal round-table type forum that everyone in Ward One, Lincoln was welcome to attend. Our goal was really to have a general discussion and to try to keep in touch with how people are feeling about things going on in the community. The good news is that it worked out well. We have a list of concerns that people raised, and are working at giving each item attention and hopefully resolving them.
Our intention is to do this again – If you live in Ward One…. or even in another Ward but have something that you need to discuss… Please attend the next meeting.
The general outcome was that we are a little closer to some people in the community than we were before. Time marches on after an election and unfortunately communication can be a casualty.
Lincoln Council has been working on simplifying it’s current process in which local agri-tourism based businesses have to re-apply for and pay for a tent building permit every time they hold an event (in a tent over 60 square metres). The fact is, in some cases it wasn’t happening. Tents were being left up.
Agri-tourism is a very significant portion of our local economy and we should be supporting it’s efforts. Hence the proposed change to the Zoning Bylaw which would see tents be allowed to stand on a “seasonal” basis from May 1st to October 31st, in agricultural areas only, a maximum of 24 events, and with established setbacks from property lines. Last night, Planning Committee approved the Zoning Bylaw amendment and it will go to Council for ratification next Tuesday night.
This was originally seen as a simple “red-tape removal” initiative, (we always intended though, to consider the implementation of a seasonal tent permitting process).
A local resident hired a smart lawyer who repeatedly came to Council – and can must be credited in part for steering us into looking at the biggest picture – a big part of which is by-law enforcement. Supporting the agri-tourism industry is important but we have to ensure that we do it right, and having all the controls in place isn’t worth a hill of beans if we don’t/can’t enforce them. Councillor Rob Foster and I have talked about this very important point throughout this process.
I submitted a Notice of Motion last of my intent to request a report on alternatives to our existing bylaw enforcement model which is complaint-based. For the most part, (and this is common is the Niagara Region with one or two exceptions from what I understand) – in order for the bylaw enforcement officer to investigate, there has to be a formal complaint. Many people don’t know that. Also, noise-bylaw-infractions happen most often at night when staff is not around. These are some of the concerns staff has been asked to look in the report outlining alternate models and costs.
Existing controls for seasonal tents are:
- The site plan process in which staff would ensure that setbacks, parking etc. are suitable and tailored to the specific situation.
- Our noise bylaw will be reviewed considering the addition of seasonal tents.
- Any tent over 60 square metres needs a building permit, and the Fire Department will be involved, doing inspections and requiring the applicant to have a fire-safety plan in place. The building Code is specific as to the number of guests allowed in accordance with the size of the tent. The building permit process must also include a site plan.
- Finally, Council has requested a report on the implementation of a Seasonal Tent Permitting process that may establish further processes and controls. For example it may require that applicants submit a list of planned events for the season and that if there are any changes to that list that the Town be notified within 14 days. It may establish a notification for neighbouring properties, and a process whereby an event permit can be revoked for repeated noise-bylaw-infractions. We are expecting this report later this summer.
See the link below to read the Briefing Note that the Public Works Department is bringing to Infrastructure Committee Tonight.
It essentially sums up the results of the second Public Information Centre that was held on March 8th at the Lincoln Centre, and tells us what the next steps are:
Councillors Rob Foster and I are hosting an informal Ward 1 Meeting for residents of Ward 1 Lincoln (those who live in the area lying between King Street and the Lake, and Lincoln Avenue and Sann Road).
Come to the Beamsville Room 4800 South Service Road, Beamsville (at Bartlett)…(enter Council Chamber Doors and turn left – room is at the end of the hall), enjoy refreshments, and bring your concerns, ask questions, and provide input.
Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
We want to hear from you!