After several months of consulting with the Elk Valley municipalities and rural residents, the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Board decided not to proceed with any changes to the regulation of home based businesses in Electoral Area A.
In the unincorporated areas of the Elk Valley, home based businesses are presently permitted in all residential and rural residential zones as an accessory use to a single family dwelling, and the existing regulations will remain unchanged. During the RDEK board meeting in December, Area A Director Mike Sosnowski made a motion not to adopt the major and minor bylaws and the board agreed.
“During the public consultation process, really good points were made by municipalities and residents,” said Sosnowski.
He heard loud and clear from constituents that “they are in support of business in their electoral area and there has to be public consultation.”
“The most resounding thing that impacted my decision was the mink farm (north of Sparwood). That showed me how zoning with little regulation can have a negative impact on a neighbour.”
“With new bylaws in electoral areas, we don’t have the same regulations (as municipalities). There are no business licenses to know if a new business would be compatible (in a neighbourhood).”
He commented that the City of Fernie had voiced concerns that the different taxation between home based businesses in the RDEK and municipal businesses would create a different playing field.
“I’m going to ask the provincial government to give the business licensing tools to regulate business.”
“I haven’t changed my mind that regional residents should be able to continue garnering income.”
The old home based business bylaws still stand. People can still apply for a more enhanced home based business through the development variance permit or apply for a partial commercial zoning for a portion of their property.