The Village of Harrison Hot Springs is undertaking a complete review of its current Official Community Plan (OCP).
Speaking in very broad terms, an Official Community Plan (OCP) is a guide used both by Council and staff for decision making purposes related to land development applications and other land management issues. It provides direction related to elements such as but not limited to; the location and type of residential uses, policies and issues related to commercial, residential and industrial development. Input from the Village’s residents and business owners is strongly encouraged on the current review of the OCP.
While an OCP is an adopted bylaw by Council, as per section 472 of the Local Government Act, it should not be viewed as a static document, but rather as a living document that may be amended from time to time to reflect changes in the community. For example, the current OCP has been amended 12 times since 2007.
Although the Local Government Act, mandates what goes into an OCP, there is no reference in the legislation on how long an OCP is to be in effect. An OCP is often perceived as static document, as it is adopted by bylaw. However, an OCP should not be seen as a static document, but rather as a document that needs to be reviewed on a periodic basis.
The rationale for the review and update is quite simple, in that an OCP is developed based upon the community’s values. It is wise to perform a periodic review to ensure that these values are still prevalent today as it was when it was the OCP was created. This will be the first comprehensive review of the OCP since it was first created in 2007.
As per Section 473 of the Local Government Act, an OCP must include statements and map designations for the area covered by the plan respecting the following:
(i) the approximate location, amount, type and density of residential development required to meet anticipated housing needs over a period of at least 5 years;
(ii) the approximate location, amount and type of present and proposed commercial, industrial, institutional, agricultural, recreational and public utility land uses;
(iii) the approximate location and area of sand and gravel deposits that are suitable for future sand and gravel extraction;
(iv) restrictions on the use of land that is subject to hazardous conditions or that is environmentally sensitive to development;
(v) the approximate location and phasing of any major road, sewer and water systems;
(vi) the approximate location and type of present and proposed public facilities, including schools, parks and waste treatment and disposal sites;
(vii) other matters that may, in respect of any plan, be required or authorized by the minister.
In addition to the above referenced mandatory requirements, an OCP may also address the following:
(i) social needs, social well-being and social development;
(ii) a regional context statement, as the Fraser Valley Regional District has adopted a Regional Growth Strategy;
(iii) policies for the maintenance and enhancement of agricultural activities in the Village, if applicable; and
(iv) policies of the Village that relate to the preservation, protection, restoration and enhancement of the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity.Image
1/. Development Permits
This is a land use tool that requires additional information before a development may proceed. An official community plan may designate development permit areas for one or more of the following purposes:
(i) protection of the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity;
(ii) protection of development from hazardous conditions;
(iii) protection of farming;
(iv) revitalization of an area in which a commercial use is permitted;
(v) establishment of objectives for the form and character of intensive residential development;
(vi) establishment of objectives for the form and character of commercial, industrial or multi-family residential development;
(vii) in relation to an area in a resort region, establishment of objectives for the form and character of development in the resort region;
(viii) establishment of objectives to promote energy conservation;
(ix) establishment of objectives to promote water conservation;
(x) establishment of objectives to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
2/. Temporary Use Permits
This type of tool can allow for a specific use outside of the listed permitted uses, as outlined in a zoning bylaw. The use of this type of tool can be set up through either an OCP or Zoning Bylaw. The Village has allowed the use of this type of planning tool through the Village’s Zoning Bylaw.
As a part of the review process, the community will be consulted throughout the review process which may include; community surveys, community open houses, stakeholder meetings, the use of a community comment board and the use of a community world café concept (community meeting concept).
Staff have performed a preliminary review of the OCP and is recommending that the following be incorporated into the updated OCP;
- Consolidation of the bylaw – have all the maps consolidated onto one map, as there have been some mapping amendments to the bylaw since it was adopted
- The addition of a Wildfire Development Permit Area – as per section 9.3.1 Areas Exposed to Interface Fire Potential
- Need to update some of the Development Permit requirements – an example of this is the Miami River requirements, the province has repealed the requirements under the old Riparian Area Regulations and replaced them with the Riparian Area Protection Regulations effective November 1, 2019.
- Revise the Special Planning Area – for clarification purposes
- Update the population projections
- Create a Development Permit checklist concept
Yes. An OCP lays out the long-term vision for the community. Within section 2.3 of the Village’s current Bylaw is the following vision statement:
“A residential and resort community with an attractive and inviting Village core of shops and services. A strong commitment to maintaining the scenic qualities, the environment, the quality of life and the vibrant and cultural life combined with a high standard of development.”
Page 10, Village of Harrison Hot Springs OCP Bylaw #864
The above referenced long-term vision is also complemented by the following 10 goals:
Goal 1: Provide efficient, equitable and affordable public services.
Goal 2: Establish a distinct, pedestrian‐oriented Village centre with a range of commercial services.
Goal 3: Develop tourism and recreation features and activities for the benefit of residents and visitors.
Goal 4: Protect views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Goal 5: Protect and maintain air and water quality and biodiversity.
Goal 6: Promote compatible residential and tourism development and community relationships.
Goal 7: Manage traffic and parking and promote transportation alternatives.
Goal 8: Provide for a mix of housing types for all ages and incomes.
Goal 9: Restore and protect Miami River and related aquatic systems.
Goal 10: Reduce community greenhouse gas emissions.
Page 10, Village of Harrison Hot Springs OCP Bylaw #864
It is important that any new emerging trends and issues are captured in the OCP review, so that the revised OCP can address any new community trends.
Ensuring the successful implementation of the OCP also requires a commitment that extends well beyond the date of adoption.
Yes, development applications can and will still be processed, as the Village has a current OCP Bylaw in place. Please note that there is no mechanism in the Local Government Act that allows the Village to stop processing a development application while the OCP is being reviewed.