Tempo question is a hot potato

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In my words: The issue of whether to permit tempos in Cote Saint-Luc has dogged City Council for decades. Mayor Bernard Lang was always opposed, citing an unsightly neighbourhood. Early in my mandate I argued that the hardship for those homeowners without a garage (pretty much west of Leger Ave all the way to Wentworth, in District 5) required extra consideration beyond aesthetics. Council agreed and this specific exception was granted.In my years of polling residents, door by door in District 6, a significant minority spoke out in favour of these wind-flapping tarpaulin tunnels for their street. But the majority, at least 3 out of 4 homeowners, were not favourable to the idea.Times have changed, there are more cars than ever in CSL and who likes to shovel anyhow?

This issue will be a political hot-potato, pitting one resident against another. There are no easy answers and everyone is right in their own case. But the bigger question is who will be right for the entire neighbourhood?

Just asking the question is fraught with political risk. You cannot please everyone and will likely annoy many. Breaking into an unprecedented 73 zones will mean some areas will wiggle through while many more will attain the 12 requisite signatures to call for a politically-undesirable referendum.

The matter of tempos was left dormant for many years since allowing just a few, in a specific neighbourhood to break with the rule. Perhaps it should be left alone for few more years.

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Tempo question to be put to CSLers in 73 zones

The City of Côte St. Luc will publish a notice Oct. 3 informing residents in 73 zones that they will have an opportunity to ask for a register if they oppose a proposed bylaw to generally allow temporary car shelters (tempos) in most of the territory.

Currently, tempos are allowed if a resident does not have a carport or garage. Several residents with garages were also able to have them by providing the city with a doctor’s note.

Council passed a second draft bylaw last week on tempos during the regular public meeting. In each of the 73 zones, 12 signatures would be required for there to be a register to ask for a referendum. Residents will have eight days to sign the register if they oppose allowing more tempos.

“It’s a hard one,” Mayor Mitchell Brownstein told a well-attended public consultation meeting on the issue the same night. “We know there’s a movement in certain areas of the city where people wants tempos, and certain areas where they don’t want tempos.”

“I am not, at any point, going to recommend that this council proceed with a referendum — it’s a very expensive procedure and it causes division within the community,” the Mayor added. “But if I see within the 73 zones that there are many in a particular district that got 12 signatures — and it’s not very hard to get 12 signatures — I want the council to see through this process which zones are going to be in favour or not.

“I have a feeling, in areas where the homes are more expensive, where people have two-car garages, they’re going to get the 12 signatures pretty quickly and send the message to council.”

Brownstein also said he believes that in areas with no or one-car garages, or smaller homes, the residents will be more inclined to want tempos, and not sign for a register.

During the more than half-hour public consultation, residents came out passionately for and against the proposed tempo bylaw, citing aesthetics, security (for those against) and the city’s harsh winters and senior population (for those in favour). Judging by the applause in the room, most of those attending were in favour of expanding tempo use.

“In the wintertime, utility sometimes outstrips aesthetics,” said a resident. “I support it… I will definitely solicit for tempos.”

According to the city’s website, the new rules would allow “no more than one [tempo] on an existing, conforming driveway,” they “can only be in place between Nov. 1 and April 15,” and they “must be translucent white canvas with clear windows, fitted with a dismantable tubular metallic frame.”

Brownstein later acknowledged to The Suburban that council could have some tough decisions to make area by area.

Councillor Ruth Kovac, who represents District 8, said one of her concerns is disputes between neighbours.

“They’re going to come to the city looking for us to resolve those disputes, and we’re going to be in the middle of it,” she said. “It’s one thing to legislate, and it’s another to deal with the fallout. I’m very comfortable with what we have done — give permission by exception.”

 

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Read more:

CSL to relook at tempo policy, The Suburban 2009

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CSL to relook at tempo policy

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CSL to relook at tempo policy

By Joel Goldenberg
The Suburban
November 18, 2009

Côte St. Luc will take a new look at its policy restricting temporary garages, after an appeal by resident and former cable TV broadcaster Jay Rubinstein at last week’s city council meeting.

Some municipalities ban or restrict tempos because they are thought to be unsightly. Rubinstein was speaking on behalf of himself and his neighbour, who is recovering from cancer surgery. He also pointed out, “I’ve lived in the same house in Côte St. Luc for 54 years, with a wretched basement garage and whether I hire a snow removal firm or clean the driveway myself, it’s difficult to go up the driveway because of the slippery conditions after a snowfall,” Rubinstein said. “There is no service that will remove the accumulation of snow on the top of the car.

“I am 76-years of age, we have two cars, each parked in the driveways without shelter. There is no solution for us other than to erect a tempo shelter. Concerning the appearance, nothing is uglier than the dirty snow blown on my lawn by the city. This is Montreal, this is Quebec, this is where the snow falls and we need all the help we can get. I am asking to be granted permission immediately, as an exception, to be able to erect it. I really can’t get up the driveway anymore.

Mayor Anthony Housefather said the city does not want tempos for aesthetic and other reasons, but has allowed them since the early 1990s in cases where residents have no garage. The mayor also said that the way the bylaw is written, council does not have the discretion to grant an exemption “for hardship or any other reason. We would have to change the bylaw.

“I can take this as a request for us to review the bylaw, and to see whether or not it should be changed to allow tempos in other circumstances. We will take it under advisement.”

Housefather also told Rubinstein that the bylaw may not be changed, if at all, in time for this winter, as there is a lengthy process involving a notice of motion and draft bylaws at successive council meetings.

Councillor Allan Levine told the meeting that he supports tempos, “even when there is or is not a garage.

“There are certain circumstances that warrant quality of life, especially when it comes to seniors or special vehicles, that a tempo might be necessary.

In my opinion: I was a proponent in the mid-90s to allow CSL homeowners without a garage to erect a tempo during the winter months.  I said then, as I do now, that tempos are, well –  ugly.  On the other hand, many will argue that winter can be rather ugly too – at least in the city.  I do not believe most homeowners in CSL would want to see a proliferation of these tent-like structures on their block.

What’s your opinion?  Please submit your comment below and indicate what street you live on and if you think allowing them everywhere in CSL is a good idea. Forward this blog post to your friends in CSL and ask them to comment too.  City Council will review the bylaw and I will send all comments to the Council for consideration.