Even while questions around parking persist, Cumberland’s council adopted a zoning amendments bylaw at the March 8 meeting.
The bylaw had been brought forward to make several “housekeeping” changes to the zoning bylaw. There were provisions for activities such as beekeeping on certain types of property and a ban on water bottling.
Prior to adoption, the amendments bylaw went before a public hearing, held via Zoom, on March 2. The village received 15 submissions with comments from the public, many around the issue of payments in lieu for developers who wish to reduce the number of parking spaces they should provide in the downtown core. Some supported council’s move to cap the number of spaces that can be covered by the payments in lieu at 30 per cent as well as increases to the amount paid. Others felt the move could discourage businesses.
Most on council supported the provisions. Some pointed out there are alternate places to park at three lots in the downtown core and the village could consider more signage to encourage their use.
“There is actually a lot of parking. It’s just not being utilized,” said Coun. Jesse Ketler.
However, one sentiment several on council expressed was the need for a parking study to address concerns such as the feasibility of underground parking. Chief administrative officer Clayton Postings said parking is part of a broader transportation plan, but added it might not address all the specific questions around parking.
Coun. Vickey Brown stood in opposition to the idea of cash in lieu, saying the issue at hand concerned densification of residential buildings downtown. The village, she added, still needs to address parking for the people who will be living and possibly working downtown, because of recent development proposals, meaning they might need parking all through the day.
“Right now, we’re not addressing the current problem. We’re addressing the future problem that’s coming with future development,” she said.
She suggested the onus should be on developers to provide parking, not council or taxpayers to fund parking from payments in lieu.
Brown also has concerns with ideas such as angled parking on the streets as it would impede bike lanes and sidewalk cafes.
“I know that the rest of council, and myself, feel like developers should be the ones paying,” she added.
For the final version of the bylaw, staff included a few minor changes to wording following the public hearing on March 2. Council passed the zoning amendments, though members expect they will be revisiting the parking issue.
While Brown cast the sole vote in opposition to the motion, she said, other than the matter of parking, she supported the changes to the zoning bylaw.