Surrey city council puts 11 p.m. cap on meetings
Regular meetings of Surrey City Council each Monday now end at 11pm and will be rescheduled to 1pm on Tuesday when there are still items to be considered, unless the council decides otherwise.
Also, speakers at public hearings will be limited to three minutes instead of five to address the council.
The Council decided this on Monday (January 30).
Bylaw amendments, also approved by the council, waive public hearings for subdivisions with five single-family residential lots or fewer and delegate authority to city staff to issue development variance permits for “a variety of minor” variances, including yards and setbacks , height of buildings, placement of basement entrances and shafts, landscaping and screening, off-street parking and loading and unloading requirements, and signage regulations.
count. Mandeep Nagra said this will streamline “a lot of processes” and make it “so much easier” for homeowners to tackle smaller projects.
count. Doug Elford expressed “slight concern” about the 11pm stoppage.
“I think my concern is if we’re at the end or near the end of a session or on the agenda, I was hoping that maybe the Council would have the opportunity to continue it if it’s only half an hour because it’s so is bring everything back the next day for a very small amount of agenda which I don’t think is practical,” Elford told the council.
“So I’m looking for a little margin at 11 a.m. cutoff time.”
Rob Costanzo, general manager for business services in Surrey, replied that the council could make the call if they wanted to stay longer.
“But if it appears that it’s a stacked room and we’re going to be here by 4 a.m.,” he said, “then the chairman’s call would announce a break until 1 p.m. the next day.”
count. Linda Annis said she was “so pleased” to see these changes.
“I think it will help streamline a lot of the processes in the planning department and make it easier for people doing smaller developments to move much faster.”
The congregation cap, she added, is “long overdue.”
“I’m thinking of some of the marathon sessions we’ve been through over the last four and a half years and we’re not in our best shape to make a decision at 2am and ask our Surrey residents to stay here until 2 or 3 Knowing that they have to get up and go to work the next morning is just not on for me, so I’m really pleased that this is progressing.”
count. Pardeep Kooner urged city officials to provide the council with a regular report on the development variances issued “just to keep us posted on which ones have been approved” and when the planning department and the resident cannot agree on a variance , the Council can do this nor vote on it.
Meanwhile, Monday night’s council meeting came to an alarming end.
“Can you belive that?” Annis laughed. “We were about to adjourn and had to go to the fire, there was no fire, it was just a false alarm. It woke us all up, it was a bit chilly out there.”
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