Highlights from West Kelowna council’s meeting
September 28, 2013 - 3:47 PM
Draft Zoning Bylaw
Council received information from the Development Services Department regarding the ongoing review of the District’s Zoning Bylaw and provided direction on key components including parking provisions, bicycle parking requirements, commercial zoning permitted uses and minimum allowable lot size for single family dwellings. The Zoning Bylaw review was launched last year to implement the objectives of West Kelowna’s Official Community Plan, adopted in July 2011. The current Zoning Bylaw was inherited from the Regional District of Central Okanagan at time of incorporation and was last substantially reviewed in 2000. A staff committee has reviewed the draft Zoning Bylaw to incorporate zoning related items stemming from the Official Community Plan and other recently-adopted master plans as well as to address any technical issues. The bylaw has been reviewed in context with adjacent jurisdictions to ensure the parameters of the bylaw reflect local standards. The first phase of public consultation included technical referrals to the Advisory Planning Commission and Agricultural Advisory Committee, the Urban Development Institute, home-based business operators and the Special Needs Advisory Council. The draft Zoning Bylaw was provided for public input via an online survey and at an open house on June 13, 2013. As directed by Council, letters were mailed to property owners that were subject to proposed mapping changes stemming from the bylaw review process. The next steps in the process involve incorporating Council’s input into the draft bylaw before being brought to Council for initial readings. As part of the process, the draft bylaw will be taken to public hearing after second reading. Residents can watch for upcoming meetings on the District’s website, www.districtofwestkelowna.ca, or sign up for e-Notification and have meeting agendas, news and event information sent directly to them via email.
Municipal Hall/Civic Centre
Council was provided an update on the feasibility/implementation study phase of its Municipal Hall/Civic Centre project. Council directed in June 2013 that study would focus on Westbank Centre as the location for a municipal hall/civic centre. Council was advised that, based on Province of British Columbia Government Office Space Standards (GOSS) a minimum of 23,000 square feet would be needed to accommodate immediate future staffing needs, with potential future expansion of up to 10,000 square feet as the municipality grows, requiring a minimum of about 2 acres of property. Other compatible uses that could be considered in the facility include office space for Interior Health Authority services and a library facility. Council was advised that a minimum of approximately 100 parking spaces would be required at the facility. A facility of this size would cost approximately $621,000 per year to lease. Construction of a new standalone building is estimated to cost $6.5 million with a further $2 million to purchase the property, approximated at $530,000/year to build. A procurement strategy and timing was presented to Council involving investigations with potential partners, prequalification initiatives and concept design process, with an estimate that work on this phase of the process could be completed by May 2014. Council requested that the timeline be fast-tracked as much as possible.
Transportation Master Plan
Council reviewed the Transportation Master Plan, which will develop a long-term strategy to guide planning and development, identify transportation alternatives, determine affordable and sustainable levels of service and performance and balance the long-term investments required between maintenance, renewal and system improvements. The Transportation Master Plan has been taken to three public open houses and was the subject of four meetings of the plan’s Stakeholder Advisory Group made up of District staff, members of neighbourhood and business associations as well as representatives of Interior Health Authority, School District 23, roads and safety advocates, bicycle and hiking advocates, regional transportation agencies and adjacent municipalities. Based upon Council feedback, the next steps in the process are to update and finalize the Transportation Master Plan, amend the Official Community Plan to incorporate the road network plan, update the draft Development Cost Charge (DCC) Bylaw and develop a detailed and affordable draft Transportation Master Plan investment implementation plan for Council's consideration in 2014.
Medical Marihuana Regulations
Council received information related to federal medical marihuana regulation changes and directed that Medical Marihuana Grow Operations (MMGOs) only be permitted in Industrial Zones in West Kelowna. Staff will incorporate regulations related to this into the appropriate zoning and bring the changes back to Council for consideration. Changes to Federal Regulations related to medical marihuana were enacted in June 2013 and will be implemented through a phased approach, completion by March 2014. New regulations treat medical marihuana as a medication as much as possible by creating licensing for commercial production. New regulations discontinues issuance of licenses to produce in private dwellings and requires operations to be fully contained within buildings and require extensive security (i.e. 24/7 visual monitoring and restricted access). Licensed producers must notify the local government, the local fire authority and police of their intent to apply. The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) has clarified that this use falls within the ‘farm use’ definition. Council was advised how the changes to regulations will impact DWK bylaws including the Safe Premises Bylaw, Business Licensing and Fees and Charges Bylaws and Zoning and Building Regulations Bylaws.
McDougall Creek Drainage Improvement
Council awarded the construction contract in the amount of $283,566 to Ansell Construction Ltd. for McDougall Creek drainage improvements. The Province of BC committed in July to fund up to two-thirds of the cost of this project through the Flood Protection Program (FPP), the District will pay the remaining third. Flooding of McDougall Creek has been an ongoing issue for West Kelowna, the most recent flood occurring on April 29, 2012 causing a local state of emergency to be called. Mitigation work will include in-stream works in the fish-bearing creek and is expected to be completed this fall.
Permissive Tax Exemptions
Council gave first three readings to the Property Tax Exemption Bylaw which contains 2014 tax exemptions on 15 properties in the “places of worship and private schools” category, 6 in the “miscellaneous non-profit” category and 1 in the “public/local authority” category. The total 2014 District of West Kelowna property taxes exempted through permissive exemptions is $125,057.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013