An example of Development Permit Areas in Electoral Area H in the Regional District of Nanaimo. The RDN wants to revise the language use in the Development Permit Areas and Temporary Use Permit. — RDN photo

RDN streamlines permit process

Plan to revise language to make it uniform across electoral areas

The regional district is looking to revise existing development permit and temporary use permit areas to standardize and streamline the application process.

Regional District of Nanaimo staff has been reviewing development permit areas (DPAs) and temporary-use permit areas (TUPs) across electoral areas, including the Official Community Plan (OCP).

At present, there are 49 DPAs in seven OCPs in the electoral areas that were adopted between 1997 and 2017. But the DPA guidelines differ from one area to another. The terminology, uses and conditions also vary in all seven OCPs designated TUP areas.

Courtney Simpson, RDN senior planner, in her report to the Electoral Area Services Committee on Feb. 13, said the key objectives are to make the language consistent across the electoral areas for DPA and TUP areas; improve ease of interpretation for the RDN, property owners and consultants; adopt current best practices for DPAs; correct issues of clarity in the DPA maps and text; and to improve the RDN’s ability to easily and consistently amend DPA guidelines and TUP areas to respond to evolving best practices and changing conditions.

“Standardizing DPAs and TUP areas will ensure today’s best practices are adopted throughout the electoral areas which will result in consistent requirements for applicants and a more effective means of implementing the objectives of the DPAs,” said Simpson.

However, the project will focus only on existing DPAs and will not include any new areas for DPAs. As for the TUPs, some cases will be expanded in accordance with community planning best practices.

To achieve any revisions, all seven electoral area OCPs need to be amended.

Simpson said where a DPA is designated, a development permit must first be obtained prior to certain types of development such as subdivision, construction, or land alteration. A map in the OCP where the DPA is designated and text in the OCP would describe objectives and special conditions that justify the designation. There are also guidelines respecting the manner in which the objectives or special conditions will be addressed.

The EASC endorsed the Development Permit and Temporary Use Permit Areas Standardization project and recommended that associated amendments to official community plans and zoning bylaws be initiated.

The project, once the RDN board has considered it, will get underway this month. It will include open houses, public meetings and information sessions to engage the different communities in the electoral areas, as well as stakeholders, First Nations and different levels of government.

A draft is expected to be completed by May and presented to the EASC for consideration before being presented to the RDN board for consideration. The revised DPAs and TUPs should be finished by December this year.

All the work will be undertaken by RDN staff.

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