Puslinch property standards bylaw update offers revised definitions of rental, naturalized area attributes

ABERFOYLE – On Jan. 22,   bylaw enforcement officer Blair Lance updated councillors on proposed changes to the township’s property standards bylaw.

He stated “we are just presenting another draft of the property standards bylaw.”

Lance noted because  of legislation changes, the township’s current property standards bylaw is now outdated.

In November 2019, a draft bylaw was presented for council’s review.

Lance stated that in November, council asked for clarification on a number of definitions, including:

– natural areas/natural processes;

– definition options for yards;

– interior property standards wording for owner-operated buildings compared to tenants in rental properties;

– more clearly defining excessive weeds and grass;

– enforcement will apply when property issues are a safety risk and severe in nature in addition to complaint driven enforcement; and

– include definitions for heritage properties as noted in the Guelph-Eramosa by-law should the township designate heritage properties in the future.

Lance said the proposed property standards bylaw, as amended, addresses these concerns.

Lance said a number of definitions have been refined including that of yards, naturalized areas, residential rental properties, tenant, landlord, heritage attributes and heritage properties.

“The main thing we’ve done in the new bylaw is include supplementary standards for rental properties and incorporated a large number of sections regarding the interior of the property,” he said.

Items included under the supplementary section only apply to rental properties.

Lance added, “we want to come back with a final revised bylaw.”

Regarding excessive growth of grass or weeds, Lance stated that would apply – “except within naturalized areas.”

Councillor John Sepulis liked the changes that moved regulations regarding property interiors to the rental standards within the bylaw.

Councillor Matthew Bulmer said it is great the new bylaw reflects the changes to provincial legislation and the Tenancy Act.

“I’m glad we are going to make good use of the definition of naturalized areas for grasses, weeds and forests,” Bulmer said.

He had previously voiced concern for residents potentially being required to maintain property standards on areas which were being naturalized.

“We want the morraine to be able to remain the morraine, which will allow for ponding water and other natural processes,” he said.

“I don’t think there was ever an intent to outlaw nature.”

Councillor Jessica Goyda reiterated comments from a previous council session.

“There has been a lot of really good work bringing this bylaw up to date,” Goyda said.

She added she appreciated the work to incorporate comments made by council and at the public meeting.

She too was pleased to see the definition revisions to naturalized areas and yards.

“I think we are going to have a very clear and comprehensive bylaw when this is all done,” Goyda added.