All municipal policies, plans and regulations related to physical development must be in alignment with the OCP Bylaw, so it is a powerful guide to District decision-making.
The OCP provides, in words and through a series of maps, the vision for future land use as generalized future land designations. Goals, objectives, and policies support the land use components of housing, employment and business, parks and open space, commercial core aesthetics and community facilities.
An effective OCP provides clear direction but does not preclude change to the plan based on evolving circumstances or interpretation of policies by Council and staff. In this way, an OCP is often considered a “living document”.
A Zoning Bylaw controls the use of land in a community and generally sets out:
- How land and buildings may be used.
- Where buildings and other structures can be located.
- Lot sizes and dimensions, parking requirements and building heights.
A typical Zoning Bylaw maps out delineated areas, referred to as zones, each of which possess a particular series of permitted uses and building regulations. This is an extremely important element of District legislation because it:
- Implements the objectives and policies of a municipality's Official Plan.
- Provides a legal way of managing land use and future development.
- Protects residents from conflicting and possibly dangerous land uses in the community.
Some. Keep in mind that municipalities are strictly governed on how they sell property. In particular, they are prohibited from selling property below market value, in other words, the price that people are willing to pay for a similar piece of land. The other thing that the District must consider is the effect that a particular sale will have on the values of similar properties in the community. If we sell a lot at an unusually low price, we will erode the value of similar properties currently held in private hands.
The Zoning Bylaw is a regulatory tool that is very specific about land use, density, building siting (where it’s located on a lot) and other issues such as landscaping, lot coverage requirements and building dimensions. The OCP is more strategic and long range in focus. Essentially, it establishes the ‘goal posts’ for development into the future. For instance, the OCP will say “this area will be a future growth area for high density housing” whereas the Zoning Bylaw will say that the building on that specific lot can only be a maximum of 13m tall and must cover a minimum of 50% of the lot.
At this time, there are no formal incentive programs in place for private development. Saying that, the District would like to state that we are willing to negotiate and explore creative (but legal) ways in which prioritized development targets can be brought to fruition. Keep in mind that all British Columbian municipalities are strictly prohibited from providing assistance to businesses, so whatever approaches are considered, they must remain with the legal boundaries established by the province.
Once you have spoken with the Community Development Officer to discuss your development intentions and have narrowed the focus of interest to a particular property, one of two paths can be taken:
(a) If the land is subdivided, zoned and posted for sale the prospective purchaser can submit an Offer to Purchase. This involves completing an Offer to Purchase form, a letter describing your proposed development and a two dimensional site plan of the proposed development. If Council accepts the offer, the buyer must provide a deposit of $3000 or 10% of the purchase price (whichever is more) within 5 days of the offer acceptance.
(b) If the land of interest is raw (totally undeveloped) land, the area must be appraised. Once the valuation price is established the prospective purchaser will then be able to submit an Offer to Purchase. This involves completing an Offer to Purchase form, a letter describing your proposed development and a two dimensional site plan of the proposed development. If Council accepts the offer, the buyer must provide a deposit of $3000 or 10% of the purchase price (whichever is more) within five days of the offer acceptance. From there, the raw land property must be subdivided and rezoned before the sales transfer is completed.
An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a legal document for planning and managing the District’s social, economic and physical future. It contains land use and other maps to guide development in the municipality. It is a long range vision for the District that informs people about where growth will occur in the future and the character of that growth. The plan should reflect overall community values for the town which have been determined through a public participation process.
Council and staff use the OCP when making decisions about zoning, development and service provision.
Residents and potential purchasers use the OCP to determine what will happen in a particular neighbourhood or commercial area in the future.
Both also use the OCP to understand which areas are suitable for development and which are not (environmentally sensitive areas, steep slopes, hazardous areas, etc.).