Town of Falher has started the arduous process of refreshing its current Land Use Bylaw (LUB) as a means of better serving the needs and interests of the community. CAO James Bell says amongst many other reasons, the town see this as an opportunity to participate in Provincial encouragements for Red Tape Reduction. “Over the course of the past 8 years, the LUB has been amended more than 30 times in order to deal with new developments or situations that the current bylaw is inadequate to address,” says Bell. “This is a reflection of the changing needs and dynamics of the community.” A LUB is a bylaw adopted by council to regulate the use of land and buildings within a community. The bylaw divides the municipality into areas and zones, setting parameters of appropriate uses of land and building in each specified zone. The bylaw also regulates what type of building or use of building can be in each zone (accessory structures, manufactured homes, cannabis retail or others). “We are undertaking a systematic and full scope review of the Land Use Bylaw, all options available will be considered and evaluated,” says Bell. “This may or may not include changing regulations on specific developments or land uses. Additionally, we hope to update the application process.” The LUB also sets standards for land size, building height, setbacks from property lines, parking, and landscaping, as detailed on the town’s website. The process of refreshing the bylaw will include the creation of a project committee identification of issues, and research of all topics and solutions. Council is already asking community members to fill out the public and stakeholder survey found on its website falher.ca/land-use-bylaw-refresh/, this is part of the public consultation and engagement portion of the LUB refresh. Following the initial processes, the public and stakeholder survey will be analyzed, solutions will be determined, and a draft document will be created. Feedback from draft document will be used to finalize the document and finally presented to council. In following the statutory bylaw process, prior to implementation, a public hearing will be held, and three bylaw readings will be completed by council. As decided in council meeting earlier this year, LUB committee members will include mayor Donna Buchinski, councillor Lindsay Brown, Bell and Mackenzie Municipal Services Agency (MMSA). A call for nominations was made in May to elicit community involvement, but no members of the public came forward. The town asks public and stakeholders to ensure they complete the survey to help communicate their views on the land use bylaw refresh. Members of the public can also attend steering committee meetings, times and dates can be obtained by calling the town office at 780-837-2247.
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Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, South Peace News