City to iron out conflicts between OCP and zoning bylaws

Quinsam Heights development and other ‘minor amendments’ to be considered

What to do with Quinsam Heights?

That will be one of the main points addressed as the city moves to update its Official Community Plan (OCP).

Kevin Brooks, the city’s development services supervisor, said the city needs guidance on policy that dictates whether Quinsam Heights should stay the same or be a focus for city development.

“The focus of this OCP update is a comprehensive review of Quinsam Heights in the context of the current land use designations and zoning conflicts,” Brooks said.

The OCP was last updated in 2012 and in some aspects is in conflict with the city’s zoning bylaw which last underwent an update in 2006.

Quinsam Heights, the area west of McPhedran Street, south of Evergreen Road and contains the Legacy Heights subdivision, in particular, is one area where the vision set out in the OCP doesn’t jive with the zoning.

The community plan calls for large, single-family homes on estate lots while the zoning bylaw dictates multi-home and multi-family development.

Brooks said that’s just one example of what needs fixing.

“In addition to these issues, several other minor amendments need to be considered including some revisions to commercial designations, the village nodes and some revisions to the development permit guidelines such as clarification of the exemption criteria,” Brooks said.

In December, city council hired Modus Planning, Design and Engagement consultants to carry out the OCP review.

The consultants will be tasked with conducting a housekeeping review of the community plan and updating the city’s zonings to better reflect the goals, objectives and vision in the community plan.

City staff have been working with Modus to design a consultation plan that will include seven engagement sessions over the next 18 months.

The first two sessions are tentatively booked for the last week of February and the last week of March, respectively.

Consultation will include an open house to introduce the public to the project and explain the process, as well as a public open house that focuses solely on Quinsam Heights and explores whether the area should be rural or urban in nature.

In addition to the public and stakeholder engagement sessions, the city is also proposing additional communication strategies that include the use of surveys, a webpage on the city website and Facebook updates.

Brooks said city staff are hoping to complete the update to the Official Community Plan in late fall of this year or early January, 2017.

The zoning bylaw update is expected to take longer, with consultation completed by June, 2017, and bylaw preparation and legal review done over that same summer, followed by a fall public hearing.