- COW Agenda About Land Use
This week’s COW meeting was scheduled for Tuesday evening because of the Monday Victoria Day holiday.
The bulk of this week’s agenda involved seven development variance permit applications (DVPA), most of which involved improvements to older homes, with the exception of one new home construction on Beach Drive. It was often noted for owners by the Mayor and other Council members, how much we appreciate the owners’ efforts to restore rather than demolish their older homes.
In Councillor Pam Copley’s absence on holiday (she normally chairs the Land Use Committee), the Mayor asked me to step in and chair this section on Councillor Copley’s behalf. I hope the meeting process went well for the group of homeowners/applicants who attended to speak to their individual DVPA. In general, I observed that all who attended took the process very seriously, had done their due diligence and impressed as positive and cooperative.
As you know, when DVPAs are placed on a Committee of the Whole agenda for approval, the approval means only that the application is approved by Mayor and Council to proceed to the next stage of the overall approval process.
Council votes to send the application to a Council meeting (or not), during which time notification to neighbours living within 100 feet of the applicant occurs and so on. At the Council meeting, neighbourhood feedback is reviewed, residents can speak to the application and then a final decision is made by Council to approve or deny the DVPA permit.
All seven applications were approved to proceed to the next stage.
- Mayor and Council Coming to a Neighbourhood Near You
I am pleased to let you know that regular annual neighbourhood meetings are being considered by staff in consultation with Council, for proposed implementation this coming fall. As you will remember, I advocated for these meetings during the election campaign, on this blog and with Oak Bay Council colleagues. Neighbourhood meetings were also identified as one of the priorities in the recently completed Community Engagement Working Group Report.
My previous Council experience with neighbourhood meetings in another smaller municipality was always positive. Meeting quarterly with residents face-to-face, on your own turf so to speak, is a great way to get to know one another in a less formal environment, to hear directly from you what is important and for Council members to remain accountable to you as voter and taxpayer.
Watch for an announcement later this year about these meetings, on the Oak Bay website and on this blog, outlining neighbourhood meeting locations, times and dates. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thanks.