The District of Squamish is looking to close the loop on ongoing development permit deadline extensions.
After hitting a string of time extension requests from dormant development applications early this year, council asked municipal staff to come up with a policy outlining conditions to extend soon-to-be-lapsed permits.
Development permits allow proponents two years to get the shovel in the ground. Currently, if a file still remains inactive at the end of that period, the project can go before council to request an extension. Approval and how long the proponent receives is up to council's discretion.
The proposed bylaw allows developers a 24-month permit extension if requested at the end of the two years, district planner Sarah McJannet told council on Feb. 12. After that's up, they'll have to apply for a new permit, she said.
Development extensions have always been a bit of a bane for council, Coun. Bryan Raiser said. If the bylaw aims to encourage construction to take place sooner rather than later, he questioned whether the final extension should be for a 12-month period.
District staff pieced the time period together, keeping in mind form and character changes that might occur within a year, municipal planner Sabina Foofat said.
There's got to be a cutoff at some point, Coun. Doug Race said, but it's important to get the time length right. He suggested the district provide a grandfather overlap for projects already in the works.
“Often in government there is a transition [period],” Race said.
The new bylaws are definitely a work in progress, said Chris Bishop, the district's director of planning and building. Staff hope to have it in place by spring, he said.