Kelowna changes public hearing notification process

NEW PROTOCOL ELIMINATES LITTLE UNDERSTOOD INFORMATIONAL NOTICE

KELOWNA - If you’ve ever received a vaguely worded notice about a public hearing of some kind that may affect you, only to see the address concerned is blocks away from your home, then you’re not alone.

Even some Kelowna councillors think the informational notices sent out to the entire postal code where a property is located were a waste of paper.

“That’s the unintended consequences of having differing forms. Residents don’t understand why they get one form and someone else gets a different form,” Coun. Gail Given said.

Under B.C.’s community charter, municipal governments must ensure statutory notice is given to any property owner affected by a development application.

Currently public notification is handled by delivering statutory notices to adjoining and adjacent properties, deputy city clerk Karen Needham told council.

A second informational notice is sent to all addresses in the same postal code but that produces situations where someone several blocks away will get a notice but the neighbour around the corner might not.

That confusion is why councillors didn’t hesitate to eliminate the informational notice from the process and move to a new way to determine notice eligibility.

While the community charter requires public notification, it’s up to individual councils to determine the size of the delivery area, Needham said.

Council opted to create a new statutory notice — one that Given pleaded be made more user friendly — and deliver it to all properties within 50 metres of the edges of a subject property.

There must also be a minimum of four notices, better to catch large rural properties that might not have many close neighbours.

Find more stories on Kelowna City Council here.


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