Public consultation on the City of Quesnel’s proposed new Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaws has begun this week.
At its Nov. 5 meeting, council gave first reading of the draft bylaws, set public consultation, set the public open house and set the public hearing.
Public consultation is ongoing through the month of November and concludes at a public open house on Nov. 21. The City is encouraging the public to get involved, to be more informed and to take part in the dialogue around the draft Official Community Plan (OCP) and the draft Zoning Bylaws, which will shape the future vision of how the community will be developed and what it could look like out to 2030.
An OCP is a statement of objectives and policies to guide decisions on planning and land use management, within the area covered by the plan, respecting the purposes of local government, while zoning bylaws regulate how land, buildings and other structures may be used.
One of the major changes this year is that the draft OCP has added a section on First Nation collaboration “to ensure that there is recognition of First Nations habitation of our community since time immemorial and the injustices and ongoing impacts of residential schools have on this population,” according to development services director Tanya Turner’s report to council. “The inclusion of policies and objectives is an opportunity to implement work towards reconciliation and recognition and communicate the desire for a strong, co-operative relationship between local First Nations and the City.”
Meeting housing needs is also prioritized in the new draft bylaws.
“Three new housing type opportunities and some small adjustments to residential zone regulations have been provided to allow for greater infill housing to support many of the emerging housing needs that have been identified in the City’s Housing Needs, Gap Analysis and Action Plan,” according to Turner’s report.
The need to move forward on allowing secondary suites has been brought up several times in recent council meetings, and the new zoning bylaw will allow secondary suites in all single detached residential homes in city.
Detached coach houses and carriage houses (such as an apartment over a garage) are also being allowed.
“These new housing type opportunities will be allowed in most residential areas that allow single detached residential provided they meet there regulations outlined in Section 4.20 (Accessory Dwelling Units) of the bylaw,” according to Turner’s report. “A building permit will be required for the legal construction of any of these units.”
A Hillside Hazardous Area Development Permit has been designated in the OCP for all the areas in the community identified as a geotechnical concern.
“This development permit area is intended to more clearly identify to the public where geotechnical review will be required for developments,” Turner writes in her report.
Policy regarding development in the West Quesnel Land Stability Area has changed in two ways under these new bylaws. The development permit provides greater allowances for the Chief Building Inspector to allow for re-investment on existing developed sites in the West Quesnel Land Stability Study Area where no there are no signs of differential movement on the site; and vacant areas or areas that had been previously up zoned to higher densities than are existing have been down-zoned to reflect the move to limit new construction.
A Floodplain Hazardous Area Development Permit Area was also added to the Official Community Plan’s development permit areas to ensure these areas are identified to the pubic as requiring special considerations during development consideration with regards to setbacks for flood hazard areas and minimum elevations for building.
To meet the community’s desire for food security and sustainability, Turner told council that several provisions have been added to the OCP to highlight support for urban agriculture, and policies in the zoning bylaw have been added to allow for hobby beekeeping and backyard hens.
The draft Official Community Plan Bylaw 1879 and Zoning Bylaw 1880 can be found on the City’s website by visiting quesnel.ca/ocp-and-zoning. As well, a hard copy of these bylaws can be viewed at City Hall reception, and large printed maps are currently displayed in the City Hall reception area.
There will be a public open house Thursday, Nov. 21 from 4-8 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers.
A public hearing has also been scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers.
During the meeting, council also directed staff to send the draft bylaws to the Board of Education for School District 28; Board of the Cariboo Regional District, Lhtako Dene Nation, South Dakelh Nation Alliance, Nazko First Nation, ?Esdilagh First Nation, Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation, BC Housing and the Ministry of Transportation for review and comment.
For more information or to provide feedback, email City staff at email@example.com.