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Town makes adjustments on land-use bylaws

Posted on September 5, 2019 by Vauxhall Advance

By Cole Parkinson
Vauxhall Advance

Vauxhall town council has made some amendments within their Land Use Bylaw.

Bylaw 948-19 — Direct Control, Bylaw 949-19 — Redesignate Land Description and Bylaw 950-20 —Amend Definition for Agriculture/Horticulture were all brought forward to council for review at their regular meeting on Aug. 20. 

All three bylaws pertain to a particular property that has regulations in place which have been a concern brought forward by the landowner.

“This came about due to a compliance issue with a property on the north end. It came to light that the person who has animals up there was actually part of an annexation quite some time ago and there were some allowances under that annexation agreement for the keeping of animals. In our current Land Use Bylaw, that property is zoned urban reserve and the keeping of farm animals is actually prohibited,” said Bonnie Brunner, senior planner with ORRSC on Bylaw 948-19.

“The landowner had some concerns with this obviously and we met with him and his wife. We discussed options, they are particularly concerned with what they can do with their property should they wish to sell. Long story short, the proposal we would like to put forward to council is a direct control district. So under the Municipal Government Act, municipalities with a municipal government plan have the ability to enact a direct control district to deal with site-specific considerations. So, based on our discussions with the landowners, this seemed like the most reasonable way to deal with these matters instead of changing the urban reserve district which didn’t seem appropriate to allow the keeping of animals on the land.”

Brunner also highlighted the fact this bylaw would make the land “direct control” moving forward.

“The first bylaw before you is the enabling bylaw for direct control. This will go in the Land Use Bylaw and it basically indicates that the direct control district intent is to regulate and control the development on a site-specific basis where we have specific criteria that it is inadequate or inappropriate to regulate under an existing land use district. This simply enables the second bylaw,” she said. 

Brunner further highlighted what direct control would mean for the property moving forward.

“There is an interesting component in here that I want council to be able to understand. With direct control, it is not like a standard land use district with respect to appeals. Any decision made by council with respect to direct control does not have the ability to appeal which is why there is development application procedure worked into this,” she continued. “If council delegates any decision making to the development authority, that is open to appeal but it has very limited appeal parameters based on whether or not the direct control district parameters were interpreted correctly.” 

The bylaw deals with specifics around direct control.

“This has the specifics of the direct control district. The direct control district with respect to permitted uses and discretionary uses is nearly identical to the urban reserve district with the addition of keeping of farm animals,” said Brunner. “The district requirements would establish an allowance for the development officer to make decisions on permitted uses so that would be the delegation of authority and the standards associated with that district. The waiver of bylaw provisions, the development officer would have the ability to waive standards only authorize in the administrative section, which is a maximum of 10 per cent. It really isn’t all that applicable here with the exception of driveways. Council would then have the ability to apply whatever standards and waive any standards they choose appropriate.”

The final bylaw comes with changes to definitions.

“The last bylaw is some amendments to the definitions which allows for the implementation of direct control of the northwest property. More specifically, it defines extensive agriculture, extensive horticulture and most importantly, keeping of farm animals. This indicates that keeping of farm animals could not reach a level at which they would be regulated under AOPA (Agricultural Operation Practices Act) because we don’t want a feedlot or any intensive livestock operation in the northwest end of town,” said Brunner. 

With a public hearing needed for each of the bylaws, council carried first reading of each.

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