Mission council is considering a zoning change to prevent some businesses from opening in the downtown core.

Banning businesses: Mission considers zoning change to prevent some stores from opening downtown

Tobacconists, vape shops, cheque cashing companies, the sale of marijuana paraphernalia and tattoo shops could be targeted.

New tattoo shops, cheque cashing companies and tobacconists may not be welcome in Mission’s downtown core.

Following an announcement two weeks ago that the District of Mission will be spending $3.5 million to enhance the downtown area, Mayor Randy Hawes has now asked for zoning changes that will forbid several types of businesses from being allowed to set up shop in the area.

During Monday’s council meeting, Hawes suggested excluding tobacconists, vape shops, cheque cashing companies, the sale of marijuana paraphernalia (bongs, pipes, rolling papers and other smoking needs) and tattoo shops. It was also suggested that massage parlours and flea markets be excluded as well.

The current zoning already forbids new pawn shops or warehousing in the downtown core.

Staff has been tasked with preparing a report for the Oct. 3 council meeting in order to properly word the proposed zoning changes.

If council decides to move forward with the changes, a public hearing would have to take place.

Hawes said any of these types of businesses already located downtown would become legally non-conforming and would not be forced to leave. The zoning would only stop new businesses from opening in the area.

“We have, right now, a number of pawn shops, a number of cheque cashing places, a number of tattoo parlours and – whether the owners of those like to hear it or not – generally speaking when a downtown area is in decline, that’s what comes,” said Hawes, adding the district is investing a lot of money in the downtown area and wants to attract new types of businesses.

“Pawn shops are not attracting the people that should be attracted to downtown. They aren’t going downtown to pawn their articles of to borrow money from a cheque cashing place,” added Hawes.

This new downtown initiative is another in what Hawes said would likely be a series of steps to improve Mission’s main street.

The district is currently working with the owners of the old Bellevue Hotel to see if a complete refit and rebuild of the building can be accomplished. Hawes said council is also exploring options that will allow then to deal with some landlords who are “more interested in making sure they collect the rent than beautifying or doing anything with the building.”

It is still unclear how the district can convince landlords to prevent their building from falling into disrepair.

“The public can expect much more for downtown,” said Hawes.

Carlo Billinger, vice-president and past-president of the Mission Downtown Business Association, said while the association has not met to discuss council’s idea, he thinks the concept is right.

“Many other communities have done it. We’ve tried to do this in the past. We have enough of those businesses in the area now and they will be grandfathered,” said Billinger.

He doesn’t think excluding some types of businesses will be problematic noting that cheque cashing on the whole is on the downslope because on government regulations. He also said vape stores are already in decline.

“Tattoos, in this day and age, aren’t a bad word. Lots of people have them. Fortunately the ones that we have are quality tattoo places,” he said.

The downtown has had some issues in the past with massage places, but the association worked with the Mission RCMP and the district to clean up problem sites.

“Anything we have down here is 100 per cent legitimate now, but we have enough,” said Billinger.

However, if the new changes are approved, then a building may have to remain vacant until an acceptable tenant can be fund. A potential renters could be turned away.

“Overall, it would be better to have more empty stores than have too many of one kind of business,” said Billinger adding that they are already turning people away because some landlords don’t want to rent out the property.

“They are just hanging on to the real estate.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

Abbotsford charities see hike in demand for services during pandemic

Archway Food Bank and Salvation Army work hard to help those impacted

What do you think about these seven proposed Abbotsford pot shops?

Council will decide upon four locations for Abbotsford’s first legal cannabis stores

Return-It depot in Abbotsford part of aluminum-can pilot project

Customers won’t have to separate alcohol and non-alcohol cans from each other

Vancouver double homicide leads to arrest in Harrison Hot Springs Wednesday

VPD and RCMP tracked dumped vehicle connected to killings to Chilliwack

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read