A ban on water bottling and changes to downtown parking requirements generated the strongest opinions at the March 2 online public hearing on changes to Cumberland’s zoning bylaw.
Many of the changes are around definitions, regulatory changes and map corrections.
“The intent of the bylaw is to make a number of housekeeping as well as regulatory amendments to the Village of Cumberland zoning bylaw,” senior planner Karin Albert said at the outset of the hearing.
She outlined some of the more notable changes planned for the bylaw, including adding provisions to permit beekeeping on agricultural land or on rooftops in certain zones, as well as sales of honey at road stands. Adding child care to use among “community care” facilities was another, as was the addition of some new parks to the zoning map.
While no one spoke at the online meeting, Albert read six submissions sent that day to go with the nine the village had received by the morning of the public hearing.
The initial responses, which included several from people outside Cumberland, all touched on the issue of water bottling and each one supported the village’s move to ban bottling of water and beverages for commercial purposes, except where the source is municipal water supplied directly to the property where any bottling takes place.
“It is heartening to see the village council being proactive to protect the water resources for the use of their residents and for the benefit of future generations,” said Merville’s Bruce Gibbons. “We cannot afford to have our limited water resources extracted, bottled, and sold for commercial profit.”
The issue was also cited in the later submissions read out during the hearing and again all supported the move. These latter additions also touched on some of the topics such as promoting beekeeping, but the proposed changes to the bylaw around downtown parking requirements generated some split opinions.
The village’s plan is to increase the amount it collects from developers for payments in lieu of providing parking spots. For each spot in the VCMU-1 zone, the amount would increase from $3,800 up to $10,000. For all others zones it will remain $3,800. There will also be hikes for in-lieu payments covering parking spaces for people with disabilities, electric vehicles and pregnant woman and persons with young children. Among the other parking changes, the bylaw aims to cap the number of spaces required that can be covered through parking-in-lieu payments at 30 per cent.
Some supported the effort to encourage other means of transportation in the downtown core, while some felt the move would do little to solve congestion issues and could impede the future growth of business downtown. Darren Adams of Cumberland Brewing questioned whether there is a parking problem in the community and where the study was to support the assumption. He also said the current zoning bylaw has already failed to create parking.
“Let’s not give so much focus to vehicles,” he wrote. “Let’s focus on the future.”
Adam said there are too many negative aspects to the bylaw, adding more should be done to encourage small to medium-size businesses, as well as alternate forms of transportation.
In recent meetings, council had tackled the topic to highlight some of the dilemmas around parking congestion and how it is tied to downtown densification.
The zoning amendment bylaw still needs to be adopted before any changes are official.