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Increased density doesn't help farmland, says Agricultural Land Commission

The carriage house on Heimlich Road.
Image Credit: Google Street View
August 22, 2015 - 8:30 AM

KELOWNA - While converting an office to a home may not seem like much, Kelowna city staff are refusing to support a carriage house application because the lush homesite on Mission Creek is still viable for agriculture.

Applicants Don and Diane Hickey are asking for support from the city for their application to the Agricultural Land Commission for a non-farm use, in this case a carriage house, on a property they own.

According to a report by the community planning department, several buildings already exist on the 0.8 hectare property on Heimich Road which backs on to Mission Creek.

One of the buildings houses the carriage house, which was converted after the building was constructed as a shop in 2010. The commission does not support carriage houses or secondary dwellings as non-farm uses unless there is a benefit to agriculture.

In a letter from the Agricultural Land Commission included in the report, regional planner Martin Collins says increasing density does not help agricultural land.

“The ALC believes carriage homes represent an additional and unnecessary residential intrusion onto farm parcels and have the effect of increasing the size of the residential footprint on farm property, eroding farm capability and raising expectations of residential uses on parcels which have been identified and preserved for agricultural areas."

The report says city bylaw services first identified the space was being used as a carriage house instead of space for a rural home based business, which is an allowable non-farm use.

The property currently has .27 hectares used to raise horses. The owner is living in the carriage house while the main dwelling is being renovated.

Council will consider the staff recommendation at its regular meeting 1:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 24 at Kelowna City Hall.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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