Two land issues included in Area F OCP review

Owners of lots affected by Highway 19 construction want boundary amendments

Regional District of Nanaimo staff have been directed to address two issues that may have potential land-use implications for both Electoral Areas F and G.

The first is land analysis of parcels in both electoral areas in the vicinity of Church Road in preparation of an electoral area boundary amendment assessment.

The second is to provide clarity on the Electoral Area F Official Community Plan policies regarding commercial and industrial land use within the Bellevue-Church Road Rural Separation Area designation. Since an OCP review for Electoral Area F is being planned next year, staff recommended to the board that the RDN use the occasion to include the two land issues in the process.

When the Inland Island Highway was constructed between 1996 and 2001, a number of properties in the region were impacted. This was brought to the attention of the Electoral Area Services Committee in 2016 by HBR Consulting Inc. president Ron Chiovetti, who requested the RDN adjust the electoral boundaries of Areas F and G and to re-designate six properties that currently lie within the the Electoral Area G boundary.

Chiovetti told the Electoral Area Services Committee at the time that the stranded properties now have little in common with the bulk of the properties in Electoral Area G lying to the north of Highway 19. The consultant feels the impacted lots should be part of Electoral Area F so they can be developed in conjunction with the development of the bulk of land south of the highway.

Staff conducted a preliminary analysis of the proposal and in late 2016 concluded that, while the request for land use change does not require electoral area boundary amendment, such an undertaking could help harmonize a more natural division based on use.

As well, staff reported that the Area F OCP policies also do not clearly define commercial/industrial land-use designation beyond a mix of uses within the Rural Separation Area.

“Where there is a lack of clarity in OCP designations and policies, it may result in uncertainty and be perceived as a barrier to attracting future development to the area,” said Jamai Schile in her report to the RDN board. “Further to this, a lack of clarity in OCP policies may affect the ability of staff and decision-makers to determine when an OCP amendment and/or a regional growth strategy amendment is required.”

At its regular meeting on Dec. 12, the board approved the recommendation to get staff to complete a land-use analysis of parcels in Electoral Areas F and G, prepare an electoral area boundary amendment assessment and clarify policies within the Commercial/Industrial land-use designation within the Electoral Area F Official Community Plan Review process, which is scheduled to start in 2018.

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