Town approves variance permit for hobby shop

Town approves variance permit for hobby shop

Town council has approved a variance permit on Sawmill Road to allow an addition to a garage for the purpose of building a hobby shop and bathroom. (Photo contributed)

By Lyonel Doherty

Despite one councillor’s concerns, the Town of Oliver has approved a development variance permit on Sawmill Road.

On Monday, council heard an application from a resident who wants to build an addition to a garage in order to facilitate a hobby shop with a small bathroom.

Randy Houle, director of development services, said the one-storey addition will have no windows facing the neighbours, so there will be no privacy issues.

But Councillor Dave Mattes stated his concerns about the proposal, particularly the bathroom.

“It concerns me that it is no longer a garage, it’s on the edge of being a carriage house or in-law suite or whatever you want to call it.”

Mattes said as long as the bathroom exists there is no way council can control whether or not the area becomes a secondary suite or remains a hobby shop.

“Is there anything we can do to prevent it from becoming a secondary suite?” he asked.

Houle said council can make a condition of the permit but didn’t recommend a covenant.

“Ultimately it’s just an addition with a bathroom,” he stated, noting there is no provision for a bedroom, no plumbing, and no 220 plug for a stove.

But Mattes said the owner could build all this afterwards, which concerns him.

Council chose not to hear directly from the applicant who was in the gallery.

Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger asked if carriage houses were allowed in the RS1 zone. Houle said they are but noted the applicant did not express an interest in building a carriage house.

“Ultimatey, these things could happen,” Houle admitted. “But there’s got to be some level of trust.”

In the end, Mattes voted in favour of the application based on the understanding that it was strictly for a change in size and nothing more.