Applications to Reduce Soft Landscaping

Feb 26, 2023 | Climate Action, Miscellaneous, Policies, Masterplans | 3 comments

On February 27 Council agenda there is a staff report recommending Council give direction to modify the bylaws for zoning and site alteration and to schedule the statutory public meetings for such with the objective of restructuring the process for assessing applications to have a reduced pervious surface area.  The issue is important.   Rainfall needs a place to go other than into neighbour’s garden or into people’s basement because there is inadequate soft landscaping to absorb the rain or because of grade. As decisions to permit reduction of pervious surface area are largely based on analysis of  the engineering impacts, such as stormwater management, I can see the rationale for saying that the minor variance process is not the effective way for such requests to be managed. Having said that I do not fully understand the report and will be asking some questions

I do agree with changing the vocabulary to soft and hard landscaping and providing definitions.  It makes sense to me that there would be a provision requiring a .6 meter setback from hardscaped/impervious surfaces such as patios; and requiring .6 meter undisturbed strip for drainage swales.

As always you can make comments or ask questions about this report.     Contact [email protected] to register for making a deputation and/or send in your comments by email to [email protected] by noon on Monday February 6 and they will be circulated to Council.  And I welcome you to contact me directly or make a comment on my blog.


  1. Angela Rose

    If I had my way, I would like to see tax incentives for residents who replace their asphalt driveway with gravel to allow for greater absorption of rainfall which is becoming an issue due to drought conditions in the summer.

  2. J. Mior

    I spoke to Ms. A Dreher of the Planning Dept regarding the handling of reduced pervious surface, she assured me that the public would be invited for input into the new process likely in April timeframe. If I understood correctly this process would be more appropriately handled by the Public Works Staff as part of the Site Alteration Bylaw instead of the Planning Department to determine if there are any engineering impacts.

    Specific clarifications of the new process:
    – the suggested requirements of the new process mentioned in the report will this be grandfathered?

    – by adding a requirement for a .6m UNDISTURBED strip from drainage swales this should mean no planting trees, no plants, no french drains etc in this area with the exception of fence posts.

    – by adding a .6m setback for patios, walkways and other impervious/hard landscaping, I hope that this requirement is from the property line as well.

    – historically to accommodate the reduction of pervious surfaces, requirements such as gravel sidewalks (instead of concrete), drainpipe installs etc. may be necessary. Their maintenance is not verified unless it is reported to By-law as a complaint. I therefore suggest the new process verify the requirements are maintained as these these have an impact to storm management, water flow into neighbouring properties.

    • Debbie

      Hello Janet, I hope you will participate in the public meeting for this bylaw. The comments you are presenting here are very much the kind of feedback which is required to get the best outcome. And the question about what will be “grandfathered” is very important.


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