(PQB News file photo)

(PQB News file photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo to consolidate development application bylaws

Aim is to improve usability for developers, residents

The Regional District of Nanaimo is introducing a new development application bylaw that will include an increase in advertising costs and also expanding signage requirements.

The proposed Bylaw 1845 aims to streamline the process by consolidating two bylaws into one. It will improve residents ability to gain access to information and also increase the transparency of the development review and approval process.

“It will simplify the way in which the existing regulations are organized,” said Paul Thompson, in his report at the Electoral Areas Services Committee meeting on April 7. “And under this proposal, instead of two bylaws to administer now it will be one. The proposed reorganizes the current regulations to improve its usability and provides greater clarification.”

Some of the key changes in the bylaw include: increase in the notification distance for development variance permits from 50 metres to 100 metres; and expands development application signage requirements to include all planning application types and provides clarification on signage types, timing on when they’re posted and specifications for the signs.

READ MORE: Regional District of Nanaimo looks to increase development cost charges by 39 per cent

The proposed bylaw does not include any increase in the development permit application fees but it will require applicants to pay $500 more in advertising cost as the current fees, Thompson said, are no longer adequate to cover the increasing cost of advertising.

Thompson, however, stressed the current planning-related application fees will need to be adjusted and that they plan to bring forward amendments later this year as the current fee structure is insufficient to cover the RDN’s costs associated with application review and processing.

Electoral Area G (Englishman River, San Pareil, French Creek, Little Qualicum, Dashwood) director Lehann Wallace asked if the new bylaw will hinder or slow down the processing time for development permit applications.

“By providing clarity and to combine the two bylaws into one, it would help in terms of applicants and the public in general understanding the permit process and hopefully that will result in speedier, faster processing applications,” Thompson replied.

The Electoral Area Services Committee endorsed staff recommendation to get the board to give Bylaw 1845 three readings.

If the RDN board endorses it, the bylaw will be forwarded to the RDN’s solicitor for legal review, said Thompson, to ensure that it conforms with legislation and legal requirements.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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Nanaimo Regional District