Information about the driveway width enforcement suspension

On June 10, 2019, Council voted in favour (7-6) of continuing the city-wide suspension enforcement for some 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 residential semi-detached and on-street townhouses 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.

Interim process

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 basis, and will issue notices if violations are discovered, but no charges will be laid until the comprehensive zoning bylaw review is complete. If a driveway does not comply with the updated bylaw, the City will provide owners with the opportunity to voluntarily comply and will only proceed with legal action if where there isn’t compliance.

The comprehensive review of Zoning Bylaw (1995) – 14864, which includes the regulations specific to driveway widths, is now underway. Staff will review regulations related to driveways as part of that work. Depending on the outcomes of the review, including looking at best practices in other municipalities, current regulations may stay the same. Staff expects the comprehensive review will be complete in 2021.

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.

Who does this impact?

The suspension only applies to residential semi-detached and on-street townhouses affected by the parking regulations identified above, provided driveways meet the additional criteria set by Council, also listed above; they do not apply to any single detached dwellings or cluster townhouses.

What happens during the enforcement suspension?

While the enforcement of driveway width infractions is suspended, 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 basis.

Staff will issue notifications of driveways that don’t meet current regulations. Property owners who receive these notifications will be given the opportunity to either comply with the bylaw or if possible, meet the additional criteria set out by Council (see above). The city will not lay charges if a property does not meet the regulations listed above, but meets the criteria set out by Council.

Once the comprehensive zoning bylaw review is complete, staff will review any properties where enforcement was suspended to determine whether those driveways comply with the updated bylaw. If a driveway does not comply with the updated bylaw, the City will provide owners with the opportunity to voluntarily comply and will only proceed with legal action if where there isn’t compliance.

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 for the above regulations during the temporary suspension, as long as your driveway meets the additional criteria established by Council, also listed 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.