21st February 2024

Town of Essex officials are looking for input from the public on potential amendments to their parking by-law.

The proposed amendments to By-law 1037 aim to revise on-site parking regulations for multiple dwelling units like apartments or condo buildings, single-detached, semi-detached, and townhome dwelling units, along with establishing a minimum required landscaped area for required front yards in residential districts. 

Specifically, the amendments will increase on-site parking regulations for multiple dwellings based on the number of bedrooms in a dwelling unit. 

Mayor Sherry Bondy says they want to make sure they’re finding the balance between residents and developers around the number of parking spaces that are required for developments going forward.

“What we’ve found in the past is that when we build multi-residential units or semi’s that have secondary dwelling units, at times there doesn’t seem to be enough parking,” she continued. “It kind of takes away from the community, the neighbours are complaining, there’s just really no place for people to park so we want to open it up for public feedback.”

Bondy says over the last year and half since a few new apartment buildings have opened, a lack of parking has been raised by residents as a common issue.

She says that’s because it makes it so a lot of people are parking on streets, which can be a safety issue at times.

“When people are parking on streets they’re sometimes blocking driveways and sight lines when other people are trying to get out of their driveways. So we want to make sure that our communities are really livable by not having cars all over, and that each development that comes forward in our town has an adequate amount of parking spaces.”

Bondy says there’s a lot of instances where there could be multiple cars per amount of people living in one specific apartment, or multi-generational families living together with multiple cars and they all need somewhere to park.

She says Essex is still a place where most people rely on cars to travel for work.

“That’s something that we’re taking into consideration. And unfortunately people need cars, not all parts of our municipality are walkable, we’re very dependent on cars not like an inner city. So it’s something that we felt necessary to review knowing that we’re going to have more development come forward,” Bondy said.

Officials are asking both residents and stakeholders to provide their comments on the proposed zoning amendments by completing an online survey.

There will also be a Special Council Meeting held on Monday, October 2, starting at 5 p.m. to gather the feedback from residents, as well as provide a forum for anyone wishing to speak to the issue in person.

Bondy says council will take all of the feedback collected during public consultations and determine what changes are needed at a future meeting of council.