Village of Pemberton (VOP) Council passed a parking variance at its Tuesday, May 29 council meeting for the new restaurant that's set to replace the beloved Centennial Café.
(As VOP Mayor Mike Richman is a part owner of the new restaurant, he recused himself from discussions, stepping outside of the room.)
Under the current bylaws, restaurants operating in the downtown area (zone C-1) are required to have one off-street parking stall for every three seats.
After a presentation from senior planner Lisa Pedrini, council decided to grant a variance that will allow the new restaurant to have four seats for every one parking spot, allowing it to increase its capacity.
According to Pedrini, the four- to-one ratio is in line with other jurisdictions, like Squamish and Lillooet.
"It is quite consistent with the regional standards for restaurant parking," said Pedrini.
She added that granting the variance makes sense because the four- to-one restaurant seats to parking spot ratio is going to be the new standard for the Village once a forthcoming new suite of bylaws is passed.
"Given that staff is supportive of this change in our draft zoning bylaw, I feel that this variance permit should be supported," said Pedrini.
The past owners of the Centennial Café fulfilled their off-street parking requirements by utilizing a Village provision for payment in lieu of providing off-street parking.
The current rate is $7,500 per stall.
VOP Chief Economic Officer Nikki Gilmore explained the Village collects the funds, and can then choose to expand existing parking spaces, like the area behind the community barn.
"But they aren't tied to any particular business. It's just a pool of funds that the Village can use for parking only," she said, noting that the money can't be reallocated.
Pedrini also explained that the project's proponents have indicated they intend to purchase an additional 10 places, which will be added to 13 places that are currently associated with the property.
With the variance, the new restaurant will be permitted to seat up to 92 people, explained Pedrini.
Council also passed a resolution saying that the variance will not be issued until the village "receives payment in lieu of parking for the number of spaces requested."
According to the Village, notifications about the variance were mailed out to addresses within 100 metres of the restaurant and to date the Village has not had any responses.
Delaying the big vote
Council also reviewed correspondence from Alyssa Belter, an Area C organic farmer opposed to a proposed boundary expansion that would see several sections of Squamish-Lillooet Regional District C transferred to the Village, resulting in around a 20-per-cent population increase for the Village.
"If our property joins the Village of Pemberton, we will no longer receive the provincial tax exemption on our farmhouse and our property taxes will increase by nearly 40 (per cent)," wrote Belter.
"We strongly identify with the farming community in Area C and believe it is detrimental to divide Pemberton Valley farmers between two different jurisdictions."
Late last week, the Village decided to delay a key decision on the boundary extension process, from its May 29 meeting until its June 12 meeting.
That's when council will consider passing a resolution requesting Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson consider the boundary extension.
If council passes the request, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing will then begin preparing a potential offer of restructuring assistance and order a referendum vote.
Eligible voters within the proposed extension area would then vote whether to join the Village during local government elections on Oct. 20. They would also vote on whether to support the extension concurrently.
Ultimately, it would be up to the minister, who will consider the results, as to whether or not the boundary extension moves forward.
According to the Village, the delay was a result of "further review" of the proposed boundary extension area, with the Village now proposing to include an additional 14 properties located on the south side of Highway 99 and east of the Industrial Park, in addition to non-First Nations lands within the Mount Currie area, to the proposed extended area.
According to Gilmore, five properties that belong to Lil'wat Nation and are situated around Barn Nork, a Thai restaurant located in Mt. Currie, requested to be part of the extension after discussions with the Village.
Richman said while the proposed extension may have had a cool reception at a May 15 open house, he has heard from people who support it.
"In any meeting where change is being proposed, those that come out are often most opposed or rattled by something," he told Pique. "On the ground level I get comments on both sides all the time. People are still trying to wrap their heads around it."
The Village has officially set its taxes for 2018. The rates received fourth and final reading at a May 10 special council meeting.
The Village's water frontage is set at $4.36 per metre of taxable frontage; its sewer frontage tax is set at $6.67 per metre of taxable frontage; and its property tax has increased by 4.49 per cent.
As per its community charter, Pemberton also passed its five-year financial plan, offering a look at future capital projects.
For 2018 the focus will be on upgrading the One Mile Lake boardwalk, and looking at investing in a host of projects, including upgrading the Walnut Lift Station, expanding the fire training area as well as municipal hall, and buying a new fire truck. (Such decisions are based on funding and reserves.)