A trio of items on the community development committee of the whole meeting this fine evening that could actually have quite an impact on you if you plan on building a home, a basement apartment or a drive-through in Brantford.
The reports form a substantive part of this agenda and will kick off the second quarter of the meeting tonight.
At issue is housekeeping revisions to the planning rules the city uses to review new development and construction/alteration/renovation, with changes to the layout for drive-throughs. The second item deals with an update to the city’s site-plan control bylaw, through which council and city staffers can dictate not just where and how you can build on a property, but can enable their ability to approve the appearance of structures. Lastly, a citywide amendment to planning rules to allow for so-called “second dwelling units.” These are basement apartments (etc.) — as a measure of intensification, the province is telling all municipalities they have to loosen restrictions on these.
All three were subject to mandated public input processes. I attended the site-plan control bylaw meeting, with five other members of the public, two members of council and three city staff members. From what I heard, the second-unit meeting was also sparsely attended.
I’m not trying to suggest everyone needs to attend every meeting— I don’t even do that. But each of these three items has major potential to draw out the crowds opposed to what the changes allow (or mandate). I suppose we don’t have to care until it touches our own backyard, right?
The point? These changes were all made via a mandated public process. Yet when the change actually affects many people, some will claim they were done “in secret” or “behind closed doors” away from the public. Let’s see when the first gaggle of angry people shows up to dispute something that flows from this trio of items.