More options could open up for building in the regional district.
Amendments to the land use bylaws in several Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) electoral areas could legitimize the practice of building or setting up an accessory building before constructing a primary residence.
Previously in place for only commercial and industrial projects in some areas of the RDCK, changes to the Local Government Act allows the local municipal government power to now govern temporary use permits for residential applications.
But a few RDCK directors were not sure the amendment was at all necessary — as some areas prepared to head to a public hearing on the matter — just because it was allowed.
Area A director Garry Jackman questioned the importance of the amendment.
“I understand the Local Government Act has changed, evolved, to allow more activities or applications to fall within a temporary use permit, but what I don’t understand is why that would override our bylaws automatically, which would have been more restrictive,” he said.
“Just because the Local Government Act changes to allow applications for other uses does that require us to consider applications for other uses … when the current bylaw of the day doesn’t permit that?”
RDCK planning manager Nelson Wight said it didn’t.
“It’s an authority that local governments have. You can choose to use it or not,” he replied.
Area E director Ramona Faust wondered what how the temporary use amendment would affect residential construction.
“So what does that look like? I am trying to understand what will the community think that it will look like,” she asked.
A temporary use permit is like temporary zoning, said Wight.
“It gives the local government the opportunity to entertain uses that aren’t provided in the zoning bylaw,” he said.
As well, local governments gain the latitude to choose to grant a temporary use for a period of time with conditions if they wish, Wight explained, and the time period can be as little or as much as up to three years — and that can be renewed for another three years.
“It’s an authority granted to local governments to consider these applications that come forward for unique circumstances,” he said.
But the debate over temporary use permits only applied to areas where zoning was in place. Area E does have an Official Community Plan in place.
The amendment is being considered for areas A, B, C, D, F and G, the Slocan Lake North part of area H, area K (the Arrow Lakes Official Community Plan bylaw) and the RDCK zoning bylaw.
The Kootenay-Columbia Rivers Official Community Plan amendment was referred to the next meeting.
The temporary use permits proposed under the amendment was an improvement, said Area F director Tom Newell, and were a far more effective way to deal with some of the land use challenges where people were building a garage and living in it prior to building their principal residence.
“And so this was actually improving a practice that we were engaged in and, thus, more legitimizing these not primary uses prior to the primary use being established,” he said.
“I don’t quite get the difficulty or challenge of this because this was an improvement of the practice I had seen in place for six years.”
If successful, the proposed amending bylaws would authorize the following changes to each bylaw as applicable:
• remove the ability for accessory buildings to be built in some zones prior to establishing a principal use as directed by the board;
• update the language of temporary use permits (TUPs) to align with the Local Government Act and
• authorize TUP’s anywhere in the plan area;
• specify parks permitted in any zone; and,
• additional text amendments initiated by staff intended to: align policies and regulations with existing legislation, provide for easier interpretation and enforcement, and ensure consistency throughout all land use bylaws (they would not change the intent of the existing bylaw).
Areas B and C have requested a public hearing. Areas A, D, G and the zoning bylaw for F, I, J and K had their public hearings waived again by board resolution (public notice will still be required). Once the public engagement period is over all bylaws dealing with zoning can read a third time.
Official Community Plans for areas E, F, H, I, J and K have no proposed revisions since they have had their public hearings held in April 27; they were granted third reading and adoption.
Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily