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Provincial Legislative Changes to Impact Bylaw Amendment and Public Hearing Process for Some Applications

Recent legislative changes to the Local Government Act (The Act) by the Province of BC are going to impact the public hearing process and the way some Bylaw Amendments are considered by local governments across the province.  
“These changes are part of the Province’s ongoing efforts to encourage residential development in the Province,” explains RDEK Planning Supervisor Karen MacLeod. “One of the big changes that our residents will notice immediately is a change in how the RDEK Board considers certain zoning bylaw amendments as the Province is now preventing regional districts from holding public hearings on applications that meet certain criteria.  So, this impacts not only how the Board considers the applications, but also the timing of the public’s ability to comment on affected applications.”

Under the new legislation, regional districts are PROHIBITED from holding public hearings when a proposed zoning amendment application is consistent with an Official Community Plan (OCP) and when the residential portion of the development accounts for 50% or more of the total development area.  “In these circumstances, the RDEK will follow the new requirements of The Act and provide a Notice prior to the Board Meeting where the application will be considered,” explains MacLeod.  These Notices will be posted on the RDEK’s website on the Meetings & Notices page under the "Bylaw Amendment Notices - NOT Requiring Public Hearing" section.

Public hearings will still be required when proposed amendment applications are not consistent with an existing OCP or do not meet the 50% residential coverage guidelines listed above.  These notices will be posted prior to the Public Hearing and will be listed on the Meetings & Notices page on our website under the "Bylaw Amendment Public Hearing Notices" section.

These changes will also impact the timing for people to submit written comments on proposed applications. The Act identifies the timing for written submissions for both types of notices and each Bylaw Amendment Notice will clearly lay out the guidelines and submission deadlines. 

“Although it may be a bit complex to navigate as these changes are new, the important thing for the public to know is that while the process might look a little different for some applications, the ability for the public to engage and provide comment remains available,” adds MacLeod.

To view the current Bylaw Amendment Notices, and all other Temporary Use Permit Applications and other meetings, visit the Meetings and Notices page on [url=http://www.rdek.bc.ca]http://www.rdek.bc.ca[/url].

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