Most people don’t know they are breaking the rules

 In Opinion

Clearview’s planning department has been going through a lengthy review of the township’s zoning bylaw. The “housekeeping” exercise is intended to clean up the language, make it consistent and easy to interpret. 

One great example is that in one definition, many different uses were reduced into two simply by the elimination of repetitive language. Motor vehicle repair garage, motor vehicle repair establishment, motor vehicles sales and service, motor vehicle service station, motor vehicles sales and service establishment, motor vehicle sales establishment, motor vehicle gasoline and truck stop, motor vehicle gasoline outlet and truck stop were boiled down to motor vehicle repair establishment and motor vehicle sales establishment. 

There were also changes made to make certain things more fair, for example the ability to treat accessory buildings in Rural zones over two hectares in area, the same as in the Agricultural Zone.

Other changes make the rules more clear to developers and bring them inline with the building code. 

However, two changes will make things a little more restrictive, simply by having the rules well defined. 

One relates to Airbnb. The township will allow B&Bs but will require that the owner of the home is the one running it and that they are on site overnight. In other words, it has to be a true B&B. The goal is to stop nuisance renters and give the advantage to people who have lawfully licensed their homes as B&Bs.

Big cities have been trying to figure out how to stop Airbnb for the same reasons and without much success. 

There are plenty of Airbnb and other rental options in Clearview. It is what visitors have come to expect. 

The other outcome is that moving companies were not identified as a permitted use in any zone. But they also exist in Clearview.

It raised the issue of the use of portable containers offered by moving companies for self packing and moving, which again is something the public has come to expect. The township agreed to allow moving pods supplied by legitimate moving companies on a temporary basis, being no more than five days, but not shipping containers.

One night at council, there was a small shipping container in the parking lot, an example of a mid sized metal container that fit somewhere between the two. Collingwood’s Storage on Site (SOS) brought it over as an example of a product they offer to Clearview residents.

It is very likely that people have no idea they are breaking any rules when they order a shipping container or post their home on Airbnb, which brings us to the problem of enforcement. Clearview has 1.5 bylaw officers and council has supported a reactive approach to enforcement. 

With all the problems in Creemore, and all the eyesores out there, do we really want to change and take a hardline proactive approach to deterring visitors and turning off people who are trying to unpack their stuff? Welcome to the neighbourhood.

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