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Mountain View County land use bylaw review open houses planned

Public feedback will be accepted for two weeks after the final open house, said Mountain View County CAO Jeff Holmes 

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - In-person open houses will be held this fall and winter as part of an extensive ongoing review of Mountain View County's land use bylaw.

Council discussed proposed amendments to the bylaw during a recent, regularly-scheduled meeting and set the timelines for the open houses.

“We are not making any decisions today,” said reeve Angela Aalbers. “This is just what will go out for public consultation. Councillors will have an opportunity to speak to your constituents, to the public, at these open houses, and gather all that information and then bring back any recommended changes as it goes through the public hearing process.

“There is still ample opportunity to consider what is in here and make further changes based on public feedback.”

The review of the bylaw is part of the 2023 work program for the planning and development department. The review is being held to identify and provide amendments to ensure alignment of statutory plan policies and identify items requiring review.

“The recommended change to the bylaw are intended to provide clarification and clear interpretation when applicants apply and administration reviews applications,” said the county's chief administrative officer, Jeff Holmes.

Changes are being recommended throughout the bylaw.

For example, regarding offences and fines, there is a recommendation to consider adding provisions to create more flexibility for community peace officer (CPO) tickets depending on severity of offence. 

“Request of administration to add a minimum penalty - when penalties are applied, in the court system, if no minimum the judge can do whatever dollar amount they want. Having a minimum fee gives more flexibility to warrant other amounts.”

The minimum specified penalties for residential development would be $750, for commercial/industrial development $3,000, and signage $350.

It is recommended that the business, agri-tourism definition be updated to include “unserviced, overnight, self-contained accommodation” and the riding arena, public definition updated to include “may include unserviced, overnight, self-contained accommodation.”

It is recommended that the event centre definition be updated to read: “A facility that accommodates event held inside buildings or outdoors to which members of the general public are invited or admitted for a fee or free of charge. Events may include, but not be limited to, gatherings, weddings, celebrations or similar types of activities.”

A draft of the updated land use bylaw will be available for public review at  open houses, which will also include information on parcel sizes.

“There will be an opportunity for anyone to bring up issues they have within the land use bylaw,” said reeve Aalbers.

In-person open houses will be held at the county office during the Nov. 17 Harvest Lunch event, followed by one in the west country in December and one in the east part of the county in January, with exact locations to be announced. 

Public feedback will be accepted for two weeks after the final open house, said CAO Holmes.

Council instructed administration to create a short video highlighting the proposed changes and feedback options that will run on the county’s website prior to the Nov. 17 open house.

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