Three years ago, during the municipal election campaign, several of the candidates spoke of the need for a more efficient, streamlined process for those dealing with the municipality.
A proposed protocol change will help to accomplish some of this streamlining.
The change eliminates the first step in bringing forward an amendment to the Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw.
Under the existing structure, municipal council must first pass a resolution to authorize the creation of the necessary bylaw amendments.
The new system will allow the staff at the planning department to make the necessary changes and then bring the amendments before council.
This trims two weeks from the amendment process.
The remainder of the process will be unchanged.
While it is important to have an open, transparent process for municipal decisions, this initial stage did little to make the process more public, and the proposed streamlining change will not make the process less public.
Municipalities in British Columbia are required to hold a public hearing on any Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw amendments.
Approving a zoning and community plan change requires a minimum of two council meetings.
This is the case with or without the need for an authorization to create the bylaw for the amendment.
If numerous requests for zoning and Official Community Plan changes were consistently turned down at the council table, it would make sense to include the step of authorization, but this is not the case. Instead, the majority of the requests make it to the bylaw stage and are considered at that point.
A simpler system will make sense for all.