Today I sat in the gallery of the Lunenburg council chambers and listened to The Live Work Task Force. It is an exercise in extreme self control for me.
Mayor Bailey made a comment today that I found alarming and it’s important that current and potential future residents are made aware of the mayor’s opinion, particularly as we approach an election. I did not have a tape recorder, so I am paraphrasing. If anyone wants a more accurate statement, they will have to speak with the mayor directly.
Jessika Hepburn, a citizen member of the Live/Work task force did an extensive report, comparing home occupation bylaws across the country. She pointed out that near and far, home based businesses are considered to be accessory uses, secondary and incidental to the main residential use. Only residential building code can apply.
Not surprisingly, staff, the council member present and the mayor have taken the position that a land use bylaw cannot dictate the building code. (the answer to this is that the building code cannot be applied in the absence of zoning and that you cannot construct an occupancy that permits a use which contradicts the zoning, but that’s neither here nor there because truth and logic is not a part of this discussion.)
Here’s what the mayor said, and I’m paraphrasing- The home occupation bylaw of Lunenburg is currently very liberal. If the province determines that the building inspector does not need to enter a home-based business then she feels that the land use bylaw should be amended to perhaps be more restrictive.
Jessika then made a statement, much more calmly than I ever could have, that perhaps while the town of Lunenburg is waiting for provincial clarification, they can clarify ways that they wish to be more supportive of entrepreneurs because she is questioning right now whether the town is indeed supportive and as things currently are, it is very difficult to be a young, entrepreneur in this town.
Fortunately, the process for amending a land use bylaw needs public consultation and if you are invested in the future of our town then please keep your eyes and ears open. I’ll do my best to inform the public.
At the end of the meeting the mayor made another statement that the Town of Lunenburg is indeed supportive of entrepreneurs and that it is very upsetting to her that the public perception differs from that. I’m not sure that statement holds a lot of water for me. If the mayor is stating that if the province provides clarification and states that it is perfectly safe to operate a home-based business without applying commercial code, but as mayor, she feels she would need to take action above and beyond the provincial clarification to make home-based businesses more restrictive, then I don’t think that falls into the category of business friendly.