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County of Brant to address parking problems in high density areas

CouncilCounty of Brant to address parking problems in high density areas

County of Brant staff will look to find a way to address a number of complaints about parking issues in the municipality, as put forward at the council meeting on Tuesday, September 27.

Councillor John Bell brought the issue into the council chambers, requesting staff to review existing policies and standards related to both on-street and private residential parking in the County of Brant.

“The essence is to say that we recognize that we have a growing problem of parking particularly in the highest density areas in new subdivisions,” Councillor Bell said. “I believe that we need to advance the plan, review, and serve bylaw, within the parking bylaw in the absence of having a completed Official Plan, recognizing that we should get ahead of this issue if we possibly can.” 

Pam Duesling, General Manager of Development Services, addressed council about reasons for the parking problems, and how staff can move forward in improving it. 

“First and foremost, remember that it’s not just a zoning bylaw challenge,” Duesling said. “There are many things that create parking challenges in the County of Brant. We are a growing community. We have density requirements, but we’re still a rural municipality without public transit, our communities are changing, our diverse generational family homes are becoming a thing and we have more people living in one home and therefore we have more vehicles. Enforcement and education outreach will be key, but in terms of what we can do in development services, we can absolutely look at our new zoning bylaw.”

Councillor Bell raised a question about whether or not the  changes that they decide to make can impact previously approved developments, wondering if “we are going to just continue to compound the problem.”

Duesling explained that because they have already been approved, there are many cases that their hands are tied.

“For many of those developments, we do have to follow the existing provisions,” she said. “For new developments that are coming forward, we can have some good honest conversations with our developers and ask for additional parking. We found a tool today, maybe to ask for some commuter parking. That is an opportunity for us to create parking visitor parking lots in some of our newer subdivisions. So there are things that we can do external to the bylaw. But again, we do have to remember that the Zoning Bylaw is in place and there are developers that will continue to use the provisions of the bylaw.”

While there is not a clear plan on how to solve the problems at this time, Councillor John Peirce asked staff to focus not only on right now, but also long term solutions. 

“We’re going to have to look at this holistically,” he said. “But we’re also going to need to look at short term, medium term, long term things. We’re always learning on this and as long as we look at this, and we push the envelope as far as we can to exceed any potential parking expectations, I think that’s the way to do it.”

Members of council voted unanimously to send the resolution to staff to continue to find ways to improve parking within the communities. 

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