SLRD hosts an Info Sharing Session on Commercial Assembly and Events, May 21, 7pm, Community Centre

The SLRD is hosting the first of two Information Sharing & Consultation Sessions regarding commercial public assembly uses in the SLRD, in Pemberton, tomorrow evening.

Pemberton Community Centre, the Great Hall
7390 Cottonwood Street, Pemberton, B.C.

  • May 21, 2015 – 7:00pm

Purpose of the meetings

Over the past several years, commercial events (eg. commercial weddings, corporate retreats, raves/parties, nightly rentals, etc.) have been occurring on various properties in the Electoral Areas of the SLRD.

Many of these commercial events take place on properties that are not zoned for such commercial uses, meaning these events are not currently allowed under the SLRD’s land use regulations.

It is estimated that there are currently between 5-10 properties hosting recurring commercial events and a number of other properties operating on a less frequent basis.  About half of these events are occurring within the Agricultural Land Reserve, so these events are also in violation of the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission’s regulations.  Commercial events and uses on land that is not zoned for such uses raise a number of land use and bylaw enforcement issues.

Did you know?

  • A Commercial (for‐profit) public assembly use such as a wedding, company/ corporate retreat or rave/ party requires appropriate zoning or a Temporary Use Permit and any event with over 200 people also requires a Special Event Permit.
  • The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) does not consider these kind of commercial public assembly uses as agri-tourism. Such uses may only be allowed on ALR land if a Non-Farm Use application has been approved by the ALC and the SLRD.
  • Vacation rentals (nightly or weekly) are only permitted on properties with the appropriate zoning.

Why is this an issue?

Complaints — The SLRD has and continues to receive a number of complaints from residents, farmers and other legitimately zoned business owners regarding weddings and other commercial uses occurring on lands that are not zoned for the use.

Bylaw and Regulations — When the SLRD bylaws and regulations are not adhered to, it can be seen as unfair to those who follow the rules and can also lead to a number of undesirable land use issues.

What are the current options?

There are currently two options available for property owners who wish to operate commercial events in areas not zoned for such uses:

  • Application for rezoning (sometimes called spot zoning);or
  • Application for temporary use permit.

What has been proposed?

Recently, it has come to the SLRD’s attention that some members of the community have suggested that the SLRD is promoting a new regulation in order to address unlawful land uses.  This is not the case.

In the Board report of April 22, 2015 staff  discussed what the current issues are and simply proposed a new policy to encourage prospective applicants to apply for a Temporary Use Permit instead of a Rezoning application (both already available options – in other words, anyone can apply for either of these options at any time, with, or without this policy in place).

The SLRD Board did not move this recommendation, and instead requested that staff host information meetings regarding the issue.

The reasons for suggesting TUPs versus Rezonings as a new policy are:
•Temporary Use Permits enable applicants,their neighbours and the SLRD Board to consider a use, provide input and place conditions on that use in order to ensure that it will be acceptable to the neighbourhood and address various requirements such as water supply, sewage and waste disposal, washroom facilities, noise issues, parking provision, traffic issues, land use and landscaping requirements.
•If a proponent does not meet the conditions, then the TUP does not need to be renewed.  In the case of zoning, once approved, the use is more permanent, and there are fewer discretionary tools with zoning.
•It gives neighbours some sense of security that if the use permitted under the TUP creates unwanted neighbourhood impacts, the TUP does not need to be renewed by the SLRD Board.
•At the end of the TUP term, if the use is working well with the neighbourhood, a more permanent rezoning application process can be considered.
•TUPs are cheaper and less complex than a rezoning process.  This makes it a more affordable option for applicants.
•By making this a policy, there is clarity for prospective applicants as to which type of application they should apply for. Applicants would know what to apply for, and what kind of application will be required.
•Applicants don’t waste money unnecessarily by applying for a less desirable form of regulation.

Does this issue affect you?

The SLRD is hosting two Information Sharing & Consultation Sessions – one in Pemberton on May 21, and one in Squamish on June 3.

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