Edmonton city council has passed a bylaw that most people do anyway with their property. But for some, the idea of completely paving over the whole property is not going to be allowed.
“Where it has become an issue we had no tools to deal with it, and this gives us some,” said Coun. Ben Henderson. “I think we have a lot more thinking to do but in the meantime this at least allows for us to insist on what really has been current practice for most people about the mix of how much of your yard is concrete and how much is not.”
The big problem with allowing people to completely hardscape their property is it doesn’t allow rainwater and melting snow to drain anywhere.
“With your house and your garage and your driveway and your sidewalks and all of those things, you can cover a maximum of 70 per cent of your property and the other 30 water has to be able to drain through,” Henderson said.
For row housing, without lane access “the proposed maximum impermeable material coverage is 75 per cent,” the bylaw reads.
The city, with its Insight Survey got some very mixed results.
“Of the 1,964 respondents, 58 per cent felt that the city should not regulate how property owners landscape their backyards, 17 per cent felt that a certain amount of backyards should be required to be green, and 17 per cent felt that the city should limit the amount of the backyard that can be paved,” the report said.
Henderson said this will buy them some time before they look at it again in a year.
“What we’ve done so far doesn’t answer all of those questions by any means and it may be a somewhat clumsy tool, but we needed to get something in the works and have a much more richer conversation now about all of those different factors.”
Bev Zubot of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues said it’s a good beginning to recognize what most people do anyway.
“Hardscaping limits are okay, as long as they’re accompanied by soft-scaping requirements as well,” she said. “It’s a baby step forward.”
The city had taken complaints that some home owners were paving over everything and setting up illegal car related businesses in their yards.