Proposed bylaw changes may herald a shift in how city residential areas will look in the future, with the changes coming as the city's top building official prepared for his last week at work with the City of Weyburn.
The first of the changes is the introduction of the use of contract zoning for the first time in Weyburn.
As chief building inspector and manager of Community Services Doug Mulhall explained to council, the use of contract zoning in this case is to allow the use of a property for a purpose not allowed under the zoning bylaw, but which was anticipated as coming in the future.
In this instance, Leah Kot bought a residence on Fifth Street just north of Souris Avenue, and proposes to use it for a hair salon business.
The current zoning of this land is R3A residential, which does not permit the use of the house as a hair salon; however, as the house is on the edge of the Central Business District, the use of a contract zoning allows the proposed use as "an orderly expansion of the Central Business District".
Contract zoning requires an agreement between Kot and the City of Weyburn, and the agreement will be added to the city's zoning bylaw appendix. The city's official community plan anticipates this area will in the future be a part of the Central Business District, and so was allowed by council.
The second bylaw change is yet to come, at the July 16 council meeting, and will involve reducing the sizes of lots from its current minimum sizes. The change is being requested by Nicor Developments for developing new lots on the Souris Valley grounds, but could be used elsewhere in the city if teh zoning bylaw is amended to allow this in Weyburn.
As explained by Mulhall at the end of Monday's council meeting, the bylaw will seek to reduce the minimum lot size from its current 460 square metres down to 325 sq. m., and frontage from 50 feet down to 30 feet.
"It doesn't mean all lots would be 30 feet wide," he explained, just if a lot owner desired it.
Among other changes to be proposed, he said, is reducing the sideyard setback from 1.5 m to 1.2 m, or from five feet to four feet.
"Right now, an attached garage can be four feet from the property line, so if people look at that, it will give them an idea what is being proposed," said Mulhall.
He explained that as the trend seems to be increased costs in construction, this is one way to keep the costs down by reducing the lot size, and noted the city has received requests for this in the past.
As Mulhall is retiring at the end of this week (his last day is Friday, June 15), he brought up the coming change and asked the public to make comments on it to City Hall, or any input they might have about what's being proposed.
"It's a change from what we're used to, and we want the public to provide input back to the city," he said.
As Mulhall rounds out a career of nearly 29 years with the City of Weyburn, some members of council passed on their tributes and gratitude to him for his service.
A reception for Mulhall is being held for him today, June 13, in the Vimy Room of the Legion Hall, starting at 3 p.m.
"I've had the privilege of working with Doug; he's been a tremendous asset to the city," said Coun. Bill Rudachyk.
In a brief rundown of Mulhall's career, Coun. Dick Michel noted Mulhall had dealt with eight mayors, six police chiefs, five fire chiefs and three city managers, and was involved with just under 4,000 projects which created about 1,400 new dwelling units.
"That's unreal!" exclaimed Michel, and council applauded Mulhall for this volume of work.
City manager Bob Smith added his comment, as he's worked with Mulhall for the last 15 years: "You will be missed, not only by us but also by the public. From an enforcement point of view, you don't always have the nicest job to do, but I think you've served the city well in how you've approached those scenarios and provided a good solution for everyone."
City manager Smith also came in for some praise, as Coun. Michel shared that he was being recognized with a Distinguished Service Award for having served as a city official in a managerial role for over 25 years.
Smith is being recognized by the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators with the award, which recognizes long service particularly for those administrators who have been in management positions.
Smith has been an administrator for 26 years, the last 15 of which have been with the City of Weyburn.
The level of construction is continuing in the City of Weyburn, but not quite at the record-breaking pace of the last two years.In the report on building permits issued as of the end of May, the city has issued a total of 70 building permits worth a total of $7,175,400. The construction has created a total of 51 dwelling units worth $3,969,000.
This compares with a year ago when the city had issued 81 building permits worth $12,958,250, with 32 dwelling units created worth $8,005,500.
Among the numbers for new dwelling units this year, noted Mulhall, is a 24-unit apartment building, which hasn't been seen in the city for a few years.
In residential development so far this year, there are 26 permits for additions and alterations worth $844,800; 11 permits for new garages worth $155,600; nine new residences worth $3,209,000; and one permit for a repair worth $30,000. Of the new dwelling units created, 11 are single-family dwellings worth $2,030,000, and 40 are multi-family dwellings worth $1,939,000.
The Weyburn Labour Council is seeking permission to mark July as the 50th anniversary of medicare, as it was started from Saskatchewan to become a national institution.
The Labour Council wanted the month of July to be proclaimed as Medicare Month, and they also want permission to put up signs and banners noting this anniversary at Third Street and Railway Avenue, and on Government Road.
Coun. Rob Stephanson asked for the matter to go over to thenext council meeting, as he wants the city to be assured there will be no cost to the city, and asked for more details in writing about how and where they will be put up.