Zoning Bylaw Review

Project Update

August 2017: Council has directed staff to conduct a strategic review of the Official Community Plan (OCP), and has confirmed that the Zoning Bylaw review is on hold until Council's other Planning priorities (including the OCP review) are complete. Background information on Council's priorities can be found on pp. 339-345 of the August 16, 2017, Council Agenda package, and the decisions from this discussion can be found on pp. 10-11 of the minutes from the same date.

For transparency, information on the Zoning Bylaw Review project is retained below.  

Under the Local Government Act, a Zoning Bylaw is the principal way that local governments can regulate land-use. Zoning Bylaws assign a zone to all land and water within a local government and specify what activities are permitted within each zone. 

Why Does the Bylaw Need to be Updated?

North Cowichan's current Zoning Bylaw has been in place since 1997, and largely replicates its precursor, which was adopted in 1980. This means that the Bylaw needs modernization to make it more concise (it is currently over 200 pages long) and relevant to the issues and needs of North Cowichan residents today.

In addition, updates are required so that the Zoning Bylaw reflects and complements the 2011 Official Community Plan (OCP), which is the Municipality's guiding statement of objectives and policies for planning and land-use decisions. By ensuring that the Zoning Bylaw aligns with the OCP, North Cowichan expects to create a more certain process and outcome for landowners and developers.

What will the Review Process Look Like?

North Cowichan staff have drafted an updated Zoning Bylaw that: reflects the objectives and policies in the 2011 OCP; corrects inconsistencies and inefficiencies identified through experience; and draws on public input that has been received through past community engagements. The draft, updated Zoning Bylaw is available below.

How Will This Affect Me? How Can I Participate?

Changing the Zoning Bylaw will affect what residents are permitted to do on their land; in some cases, it will expand what is permitted, and in other cases, it may limit what is permitted. Given the importance of this Bylaw to all land-owners in the Municipality, North Cowichan is committed to informing the public in advance about the changes that are proposed and reflecting public and stakeholder input to the greatest extent possible, while also ensuring alignment with the OCP. 

A suite of public engagement activities will be undertaken through Fall and Winter 2016. Come talk to us at Municipal Hall anytime, and stay tuned for specific events and meetings. If you want to receive a notification from us when public meetings or online engagement opportunities are available, sign up for updates.

How Does Marine Zoning Fit In?

At its Regular Meeting of August 20, 2014, Council directed staff to investigate potential enhanced zoning regulations related to moorage within Municipal boundaries, including the following key issues:

  • Live-aboard vessels
  • Derelict and abandoned vessels
  • Registered Transport Canada mooring buoys
  • Pollution / environmental considerations
  • Noise
  • Length of stay provisions
  • Municipal licensing / permitting options

Council directed staff to consult with representatives from the boating community, the Maple Bay Community Association, and other interested stakeholders to solicit feedback on potential new regulatory measures. A summary of public input, along with additional reference documents, are available below.

Previous Community Engagement

Staff began reviewing the existing Zoning Bylaw in late 2013. In early 2014, North Cowichan staff invited stakeholders and developers to Municipal Hall for an overview of the project and an opportunity to provide input. These meetings were poorly attended and minimal feedback was received.

In June 2015, North Cowichan held a community open house specifically focused on draft marine zoning regulations. This meeting was attended by 69 people and a large volume of feedback was received.