Home businesses, tree planting, permit minimums to change
City studies third Land-Use omnibus bill
The overhaul of Gatineau’s land-planning (“urbanism”) operations took another big step, September 12, when city council reviewed a third Planning omnibus bill. The first Planning omnibus bill was adopted in the fall of 2015.
In the third bill, more than a dozen changes to tackle problems and irregularities, primarily in two important bylaws, zoning By-law 502-2005 and the administrative By-law 501-2005, were presented by the urbanism department and examined by council.
One welcomed change will be the modification of the threshold to require a building permit. The new threshold will be changed to $10,000 (presently $5,000) which requires a permit; improvements under $10,000 will require no permit -- once the changes are approved.
There are conditions, however. The city will still require a permit for certain types of renovation projects even if its value is under $10,000. This includes electrical and structural work, etc.
In addition, certain “removable accessories” will soon no longer require a permit – pergolas, decks, ramps, awnings, etc. – for homes outside a PIIA (a special planning zone) and that are not designated as “heritage”.
Home businesses rules
Another important proposal for the omnibus is that many new types of businesses will be tolerated in dwellings within H1 zones. Individuals operating a holding firm, investment business, web design company, etc., from their home will no longer need an additional permit. In “isolated family dwellings”, certain health services, such as for a chiropractor, will henceforth be permit-free.
Rules for sheds and other accessory buildings will change. They will be allowed 0.5 metres from a property line, instead of the present 3 metres. This will allow home occupants to maximize their space. In rural zones, the city will now approve bigger sheds and accessory buildings.
With the goal of maximizing usable space, the city will allow carriage gates or portes-cochères which are growing in popularity for redevelopment projects on narrow lots, mainly found in older neighbourhoods.
Public events, tree-planting
As for public events, if an event is sponsored by the city, a certificate will no longer be needed and temporary events will be increased from 15 days to 20.
Lastly, the omnibus will allow modern design concepts at fueling stations, and tree-planting regulations will be relaxed, allowing trees to be planted in spaces other than front yards.
These modifications will be adopted gradually, and, if everything falls into place, should be in place this winter.