Clearwater council gives new zoning bylaw first reading

Public hearing on proposed changes to be held in early May

Map shows the location of land use zones under Clearwater’s proposed new zoning bylaw. Riverside Centre (Brookfield Mall area) would have a new multiple use zone

Map shows the location of land use zones under Clearwater’s proposed new zoning bylaw. Riverside Centre (Brookfield Mall area) would have a new multiple use zone

A new zoning bylaw received first reading by Clearwater town council on Tuesday, April 5.

If approved, Zoning Bylaw 133 would replace an existing bylaw that is more than 30 years old, was written for the regional district and is not specific to Clearwater, chief administrative officer Leslie Groulx explained.

It also would incorporate land use decisions made in the official community plan (OCP) adopted for Clearwater in 2013.

“A zoning bylaw usually follows after a new OCP,” Groulx said.

The new bylaw would have only 17 zones as compared to the 33 in the existing zoning bylaw.

Major changes include opening up Riverside Centre (the Brookfield Mall area) to multiple uses.

A long list of uses would be permitted, including retail store, public market, service station, fabrication shop, dwelling units in a commercial building and so on.

Lands currently zoned R-1 or R-2 residential in Strawberry Flats and Sunshine Valley would be rezoned to CR-1 country residential, allowing residents there to keep a limited number of farm animals such as horses, chickens, goats, etc.

Home based businesses would be permitted on all rural and residential zones, subject to conditions.

Four related land use bylaws also received first reading by town council during the meeting.

The first would amend the OCP to give consistency with zoning, on-the-ground development, and changes such as Riverside Centre’s new zone.

The second bylaw would deal with animal control, including putting livestock limits on hobby farms plus regulations for dangerous and aggressive dogs.

Floodplain regulations would be moved from the old zoning bylaw into the third bylaw.

The fourth bylaw would terminate four of the five land-use contracts in Clearwater. Land use contracts were used in the 1970s as an alternative to zoning but are now being phased out across the province.

Due to its complexity, the land-use contract for the property on the north side of Dutch Lake will remain in place until council can examine it in a separate process.

A public meeting to discuss the new zoning bylaw likely will be held early in May, Groulx said.

Because they are so important, municipal bylaws go through three readings before final adoption.

First reading typically means council approves the bylaw in principle. Second reading is where the councillors go through it in detail. Third reading gives it an overall approval, with final adoption following.

For a map showing the proposed zoning for District of Clearwater, see page A9 inside.