Information about the driveway width enforcement suspension

On September 10, 2018, Council approved the development of a new procedure that would allow groups of residents in a defined area to request temporary enforcement suspensions of driveway width infractions until the comprehensive Zoning Bylaw review is complete.

Details on the enforcement suspension

The City will not lay charges for the following parking in residential zone regulations of the Zoning Bylaw (1995) – 14864 for homes classified as R.2 Residential semi-detached/duplex and R.3B On-street townhouse, provided driveways meet the additional criteria set by Council (see list below regulations):

  • 4.13.7.2.3 A Driveway (Residential) in an R.2 Zone shall have a maximum driveway width of 3.5 metres.
  • 4.13.7.2.4 Despite Section 4.13.7.2.3, a surfaced walk within 1.5 metres of the nearest foundation wall is permitted providing that it is not used for parking.
  • 4.13.7.2.5 The Driveway (Residential) width in an R.3B Zone shall not exceed the Garage width of the unit, as measured from the outside walls of the Garage or no more than 50% of the Front Yard, whichever is less, to a minimum of 3 metres wide. The Front Yard, excepting the Driveway (Residential) shall be landscaped and no parking shall be permitted within this Landscaped Open Space.
  • 5.3.2.8 Maximum Driveway Width R.3B Zone On-Street Townhouses: Maximum Driveway (Residential) Width of R.3B Zone On-Street Townhouses shall comply with 4.13.7.2.5.
  • The first sentence of row 15 (Minimum Landscaped Open Space) in table 5.2.2: The Front Yard of any Lot, excepting the Driveway (Residential), shall be landscaped and no parking shall be permitted within this Landscaped Open Space,

The suspension only applies where the following additional criteria, set by Council, are met:

  • That any driveway (residential) is no wider than five (5) metres
  • That there is no negative impact on lot drainage
  • That no hard surface shall be located closer than the 1.5 metres 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 metres, and
  • That City-owned water shut-off valves shall not be located within any portion of the driveway that exceeds the Zoning Bylaw sections as listed above.

Next steps

Staff need to develop a procedure for residents to apply for temporary enforcement suspensions in accordance with the direction given by Council, and then bring this procedure back for Council approval. Staff expect to bring this procedure back to Council in the first quarter of 2019.

In the interim, provided driveways meet the additional criteria approved by Council (see above), the City will continue to investigate Zoning Bylaw (1995) – 14864 regulations related to driveway widths (specifically 4.13.7.2.3; 4.13.7.2.4; 4.13.7.2.5; 5.3.2.8 and the first sentence of row 15 in table 5.2.2) on a complaint- and proactive-basis, and issue notices if violations are discovered, but no charges will be laid until the procedure is developed, approved and available to residents.

The comprehensive review of Zoning Bylaw (1995) – 14864, which includes the regulations specific to driveway widths, will also commence in 2019. Staff will review these regulations as part of that work. Depending on the outcomes of the review, including looking at best practices in other municipalities, staff could recommend the regulations stay the same. Staff expect the comprehensive review will take about three years to complete.

Questions and answers

I have an infraction currently under prosecution with the courts. What does that mean for me?

If your infraction is already before the courts, it will continue.

What will the procedure for applying for temporary enforcement suspensions look like?

The procedure could be modeled on the City’s current on-street parking review procedure where a resident submits a request for a review, and the City initiates a survey to determine interest and support from people living in the identified area. This type of procedure requires both a minimum amount of survey participation from people in the area, as well as a minimum level of support, before the City will approve the request.

How long will it take to develop this procedure?

City staff will begin working on this procedure now, and plan to bring it before Council for approval in the first quarter of 2019.

Who does this affect?

The suspension application procedure will only apply to residential homes classified as R.2 Residential semi-detached/duplex and R.3B On-street townhouse zones provided driveways meet the additional criteria set by Council (see above); they do not apply to any homes in any R.1 Single Detached Dwelling or R.3A Cluster Townhouse zones. Any driveways that do not meet Council’s criteria for a temporary suspension of enforcement are still subject to charges.

What happens while the procedure is under development?

While staff develop the procedure, the City will continue to enforce bylaw regulations related to driveway widths (specifically 4.13.7.2.3; 4.13.7.2.4; 4.13.7.2.5; 5.3.2.8 and the first sentence of row 15 in table 5.2.2) on a complaint and proactive basis. Staff will issue notifications of illegal driveways but, provided driveways meet the additional criteria set by Council (see above), will not lay charges until a procedure is developed, approved and available to residents.

Does that mean my non-compliant driveway is legal now?

No. If your driveway is currently illegal according to the regulations for driveway widths, it is still illegal; however, you won’t be charged during the temporary suspension as long as your driveway meets the additional criteria established by Council (see above).

If your driveway is non-compliant under the current zoning, it will not be “grandfathered in” as a pre-existing, legal driveway if it does not meet future zoning regulations (e.g. if the zoning bylaw is changed as a result of the comprehensive review and your driveway still does not meet the new requirements, it will not be exempt from future enforcement because it existed before the change to the bylaw).

Is it okay for me to widen my driveway?

No. All regulations related to driveway widths in the zoning bylaw are still in effect. If you widen your driveway during the temporary suspension, you will be in contravention of the City’s bylaw, and risk enforcement when the temporary suspension is lifted, especially if the regulations specific to driveway widths stay the same after the comprehensive review of the zoning bylaw.

Driveways widened illegally during the temporary suspension will not be “grandfathered in” as pre-existing legal driveways if they do not meet future zoning regulations.

Do the alternative options to make driveways compliant, such as placing physical barriers (e.g. planters, curbing) continue to qualify toward regulated driveway width compliance under the Zoning Bylaw?

Homeowners who wish to comply with the City’s bylaw and have implemented alternative compliance options will continue to be considered compliant under the bylaw.

I’m planning an accessory apartment, lodging house or home business that requires additional parking. Does this suspension mean I can add this parking space now?

No. Required parking for other uses is not included in this suspension.