Temporary car shelters: the rezoning process

Les abris d'auto temporaire



Update on tempos
At the City Council meeting of Monday, October 15, 2018, Mayor Brownstein announced that the final adoption of the the bylaw to allow temporary car shelters, or tempos, was deferred to a Special Council Meeting to be held on Monday, October 29, 2018.

The Mayor shared the results the recent application for register (ie, petition). Seven zones achieved the required 12-or-more signatures needed to request a register in those zones. The zones that achieved the required 12 signatures are: RU-1, RU-2, RU-3, RU-33, RU-46, RU-50 and RU-55. 

The City Council has signalled that it will update the bylaw so that these seven zones and the eight zones next to them (called contiguous zones) will not be permitted to put up tempos (which is the current situation). All other zones in the city will be permitted to have tempos. 

View the map below to see what this looks like. But in general, the western part of the city will be allowed tempos (ie, the grey areas on the map), and most of the eastern part of the city will not (ie, the red and green on the map).

If the City Council votes to approve the bylaw on October 29, it will take effect as soon as the public notice is published, typically within a week or so. In anticipation of the bylaw coming into effect, the city administration will soon make available the form required to apply for a tempo.

For the zones that will not be permitted tempos (ie, the red and green areas on the map), the city plans to consult with residents again in the coming months through surveys and consultations to try to get a more accurate sense of what the majority of the people in those area want. This process might lead to a new bylaw to allow all or some homes in these zones, but under certain criteria.

Click to pop up larger version in new window

Click map to open larger version in new window


2018-10-12: The application for a register ended on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 4:30pm. The City Clerk's office is still validating the applications (petitions), however, unofficially the city can confirm that several zones had the required signatures to request the opening of the Registration Procedure of Qualified Voters (or “The Register”).

What this means is that if the City Council approves the draft bylaw at the City Council meeting of Monday, October 15, 2018, it will trigger the Register process. During that process, qualified voters who oppose the bylaw in the several zones who successfully completed the application (petition) and in the contiguous zones will be able to visit City Hall to sign the Register at a date to be determined.


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The following article explains the process related to approving (or not) a zoning change that would allow temporary car shelters in Côte Saint-Luc. The goal is to provide residents with information on the zoning change process, which is the same across Quebec, including information on how to stop the change.

A. Zoning change procedure

Before continuing, let’s define some terms. Land use zoning is the term used for designating permitted uses of certain parcels of land by local governments. Some examples of zones are industrial, institutional, agricultural, commercial, low-density residential, medium-density residential, and high-density residential, to name a few. Within each of these types of zones are rules that specify how tall a building can be, and so on.

How a zoning change draft bylaw becomes an adopted bylaw

Here are the steps that lead to a change in zoning rules.

Step 1: First reading of draft zoning change amendment

The city council must vote on a bylaw to amend the existing zoning rules. If a majority of council members vote to approve it, then the process continues. This is what occured on August 13, 2018, when the Côte Saint-Luc city council adopted a draft By-law to amend the zoning by-law No. 2217 of the City of Côte Saint-Luc in order to authorize the installation of temporary car shelters in zones RU and RB.

Step 2: Public consultation

The City Clerk then publishes a public notice in a local newspaper to inform residents of a public consultation meeting, typically within the next month. At this meeting, the proposed land use zoning change is explained, and the public is able to provide feedback. Depending on the feedback, the City Council may choose to withdraw the by-law and/or not proceed any further. A public consultation meeting was held on September 4, 2018.

Step 3: Second reading of the draft zoning change amendment

The city council must vote to approve a second draft bylaw. This is what occured at the September 4, 2018, city council meeting following the public consultation. This allowed the process to continue.

B. How residents can oppose a zoning change

The following section discusses the petition (application), the register, and the referendum, which are three parts of the mechanism that gives eligible voters the power to stop a rezoning project. The City Council can also withdraw the by-law at any point if it sees, for instance, overwhelming opposition after the petition or register stage.

Who is affected

While many people in a city may support or oppose a zoning change, only eligible voters who live in specific areas have the power to oppose a zoning change. These specific areas are called Concerned Zone and Contiguous Zones. In the case of the current proposed change to allow temporary call shelters, all but three of the city's 100+ zones are in the Concerned Zone and Contiguous Zones.

Here is a map showing the Concerned Zone and Contiguous Zones. Click to open larger version in new tab.

Zoning map

>> Download PDF version


The big picture

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll explain the process of challenging a zoning change in detail. However, working backwards, here’s the overview. The ultimate goal of eligible voters opposed to the zoning change is to win a referendum on the issue (or convince the city council to withdraw the draft bylaw in order to avoid a costly referendum). In order to trigger a referendum, enough eligible voters must take part in the Registration Procedure of Qualified Voters (often referred to as “the Register”). In order to trigger the Register, enough eligible voters must sign a specifically-worded petition.

That’s the big picture. Here are the details.

a. The petition

The petition (officially called the application) is the first step in the process. It is important that the petition be done correctly. The petition must clearly indicate the goal and capture the correct information for eligible voters.

  1. Create and complete a petition with the following wording: Request to open a register regarding By-law Number 2217 and entitled: “By-law to Amend The Zoning By-law No. 2217 of the City Of Côte Saint-Luc In Order To Authorize The Installation Of Temporary Car Shelters In Zones RU and RB.” We, the undersigned, wish that a Register be held for the amendment to zoning by-law 2217, in the territory of Côte Saint-Luc; in particular, the above-mentioned second draft by-law adopted by Council at the regular meeting held on September 4, 2018. Download and print this petition template for use. (In column "Disposition visée/Article Concerned", you may write "Articles 1 and 2".)

  2. Capture the following information from the signatories: name, signature, date, address (including apartment number), their zone, and the article contested

  3. Submit the petition to the City Clerk at 5801 Cavendish Blvd. weekdays between 8:30am and 4:30pm, within eight days of the publication of the public notice. In this case, the public notice was be published in The Suburban newspaper and at CoteSaintLuc.org/publicnotices on Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

Keep in mind that every zone must petition its own members. The reason for this has to do with the math that will be explained next.

In order for a petition to succeed in triggering the opening of a register, it must have a minimum of 12 signatures in a particular zone (if the number of eligible voters in your zone is 21 or more). For instance, whether there are 21, 39, 72 or 1,212 eligible voters in a zone, the petition needs only needs 12 signatures.

If there are, say, five zones whose residents are allowed to participate in the process, each of the five zones must complete their own petition in order for the eligible voters of their own zone to be able to participate in the next step of the process. For instance, if zones A, B, and C get the require signatures on their three petitions, but zones D and E don’t, then only the eligible voters in zones A, B and C will be able to participate in the next step: the Register.

b. The Register

You can think of the Registration Procedure of Qualified Voters (or “The Register”) as a kind of super petition. Unlike a regular petition, the Registrar requires eligible voters to visit City Hall on a specific days between 9am and 7pm to sign their name. They will have to prove their identity by showing a Quebec health card, driver’s licence, passport, military ID or  aboriginal status card.

In order to trigger a referendum, a certain number of eligible voters from the eligible zones must sign the Register. The required number of voters needed is based on this formula:

The exact number is based on a formula set by Quebec law. Here is an example:

  • Zone A has 30 eligible voters. Zone B has 40 eligible voters. Zone C has 50 eligible voters. The total number of eligible voters is 120.

  • Take 120 and subtract 25. This gives us 95.

  • Then divide 95 by 10 and round up. This gives us 10.

  • Take 10 and add 13. This gives us 23.

  • So, in this example the number of eligible voters needed to vote against a zoning change in order to lead to a referendum is 23.

c. The Referendum

In order to vote in the referendum, a resident must live in one of the zones that are participated in the Register. (Eligible voters in the Concerned Zone are automatically entitled to vote in the referendum.)

In order to “win” the referendum, opponents of a zoning change must have more votes than the supporters of the zoning change. There is no minimum participation rate.


C. Next steps

What to do if you support the draft bylaw

If you support the draft bylaw allowing temporary car shelters, there is no specific action you need to take.


What to do if you don’t support the bylaw

If you oppose a bylaw related to zoning, follow the instructions above to collect signatures to sign the petition.




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