Land use plan a slow process

Summerland’s new Urban Growth Plan has not yet been adopted. The draft document of the plan has not even been completed.

Summerland’s new Urban Growth Plan has not yet been adopted. The draft document of the plan has not even been completed.

Municipal administrator Tom Day said much work still remains before the plan can come before the table for its first reading. After that, a public hearing will be held, likely at a special meeting of council. The votes on the second, third and final readings of the bylaw cannot happen until after the public hearing has taken place.

“There’s tons of work to be done,” Day said.

The 95-page report from the consultants came to council in early December.

There are now several steps in order to proceed from the report to an Official Community Plan amendment, setting up a new Urban Growth Area.

First, the draft document of the plan must be prepared.

At present, members of the municipality’s planning department are working to create this draft document, but it has not yet been completed.

The proposal under consideration would call for the removal of 87 hectares from the Agricultural Land Reserve near the core of the community. However, the details have not yet been determined.

“We don’t even know what it’s going to look like,” Day said.

Discussion has included how much land will be added to the Agricultural Land Reserve to make up for the land which is to be removed, but the details have not yet been worked out.

In December, a map and guiding principles to frame a community plan amendment were brought to council, using the findings of the final report.

At that meeting, council directed staff to present the Official Community Plan amendment.

Municipal planner Ian McIntosh said the planners hope to have the amendments prepared and to the Advisory Planning Commission by the second meeting in January.

The bylaw would then come to council for its first reading at the first meeting in February, on Feb. 11.

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 3. It is to be held in the Arena Banquet Room.

“These are tentative dates and we have a lot of work yet to do,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh said the hearing is in two parts. The first is to receive input on the block exclusion of Agricultural Land Reserve properties. The second is to receive input on the Official Community Plan amendment.

“There will be two opportunities for public input,” McIntosh said. “The first will be the Advisory Planning Commission meeting. The second will be the formal public hearings.”

Day said a municipal government is required by law to have a formal public hearing for any change to its community plan and for any decision involving the removal of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

This growth plan calls for a public hearing for both reasons.

Day expects a lengthy public hearing on the proposed growth plan. “There’s going to be lots of opportunity for the public to talk,” he said.

After the public hearing, the plan must receive approval from the Agricultural Land Commission before it can be finalized. This is expected to take four weeks.

Municipal representatives and representatives of the land commission have met six times to discuss the proposed plan. Three of those meetings have been in Summerland and three have been in Victoria.