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Motion coming to council that seeks to suspend enforcement of driveway bylaw

Trying to get the bylaw changed could take much longer
20160201 Guelph City Hall Sign KA
Guelph City Hall file photo. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday

The first step has been taken that could result in a halt to people getting tickets for driveways that are slightly wider than what the city allows.

Councillor Dan Gibson brought forth a notice of motion at Monday night’s City Council meeting calling for a suspension of the enforcement of the bylaw, which has resulted in several people receive tickets for having driveways that are too wide under current city rules.

At issue is City of Guelph bylaw (1995)-14854, which says driveways cannot exceed the width of a garage or 50 per cent of the front lawn, whichever is less.

Many argue the bylaw is outdated for the times, often prevents people from parking two cars side by side, is a hindrance to those with mobility issues and creates issues for residences that have two or three cars.

Gibson, with the backing of Mayor Cam Guthrie and fellow Ward 1 councillor Bob Bell, have been leading the charge to get the bylaw changed.

A town hall meeting on Guelph’s east side earlier this month attracted 130 people.

As for getting the driveway bylaw changed or repealed, that could be a much longer process.

Deputy CAO Scott Stewart said outside of the council meeting that the bylaw is part of a much broader zoning bylaw review that is scheduled to start in the fall.

Reviewing this particular bylaw outside of that broader review is something council does have the authority to do, but whether or not that is the will of council will be determined.

Gibson’s notice of motion to suspend enforcement was not passed or voted on Monday. Bringing it forward was the first step in the process.

It will be back at council on July 23 when there will be a vote to see if it moves forward to September for deliberation.

The motion does not give people free reign to do whatever they want with their driveways.

It calls for an enforcement suspension only for driveways no wider than five metres and protects city property, boundary trees, parking on landscaped space and city-owned water shut off valves.

Gibson’s notice of motion reads as follows:

“Provided that enforcement be suspended only where the following criteria are met: • That any Driveway (Residential) is no wider than 5 metres • That there is no negative impact on lot drainage • That no hard surface shall be located closer than 1.5m setback from a Municipally owned or boundary tree and not incur loss or damage to the tree • That the remaining Front Yard, excepting the Driveway (Residential) shall be landscaped and no parking is occurring within this landscaped Open Space. • That the boulevard portion of the Driveway (Residential) does not exceed 3.5 meters. • That City-owned water shut off valves shall not be located within any portion of the driveway that exceeds the Zoning By-law sections as listed above And that no temporary suspension of enforcement shall be deemed to be a condonation of any contravention of By-law (1995)-14854 or to prevent or stop any future enforcement of that By-law, or any successor to that By-law, by the City. Furthermore, no temporary suspension of enforcement of By-law (1995)-14854 shall constitute or in in any way grant or authorize a variance from that By-law or confer any legal non-conforming or non-complying status in any way whatsoever.“