Council rezones Fernie cottages

Commercially zoned properties along Highway 3, mainly on 7th and 8th Ave. have been rezoned and permitted for single-family use.

Commercially zoned properties along Highway 3, mainly on 7th and 8th Ave. have been rezoned and permitted for single-family use after residents raised concerns over preserving already established housing properties.

The zoning bylaw was amended during the Feb. 10 council meeting.

“The intent of what we’re trying to achieve here is, we want to have some flexibility built into this zoning,” Director of Planning Bruce Lennox said. “We don’t want to break up the highway corridor.”

The proposed bylaw will entail deeming 22 parcels of land on the west side of Highway 3 as single-family dwellings.

Lennox noted that the issue arose after residents in that area said the value that historic miner cottages have in the community, including the ones along Highway 3, and the need to preserve the houses that are thought to add character to the mining community.

“The intent was to recognize what we already have,” Lennox said, adding that in the unlikely event of a property burning down, the amendment now allows that property to be rebuilt as a single-family dwelling.

After proposing the idea to residents throughout the city, Fernie council only received one written submission in support of the amendment.

“We fully support the proposed addition,” Scott and Melissa Knoll wrote. “We believe this would be a great change and help support the ideal blend of mixed use in the neighbourhood.”

The letter continued, “Many of those properties were built as single-family homes but were zoned as commercial, which clouds the use and confuses/scares away home buyers. Let us know if we can help support this proposal in any way.”

Council approved the recommendation.