Courtenay council streamlining the way it does business with business

Courtenay council unanimously passed the first three readings of a new and improved development application procedures bylaw recently.

Courtenay council unanimously passed the first three readings of a new and improved development application procedures bylaw recently.

The new bylaw is intended to streamline and clarify processes around all applications to amend a plan or bylaw or for the issuance of a permit, according to a report from Courtenay director of development services Peter Crawford and director of operational services Kevin Lagan.

City CAO Sandy Gray noted the report was compiled after developers voiced concerns regarding the process and delays.

Jay Oddleifson was hired as a consultant for the City late last year, and he spoke to numerous local developers, as well as city staff from Nanaimo, Langford and Sidney to gather information. According to Gray, many of the procedures are based on other cities’ practices.

Crawford pointed out a notable change is the requirement for the developer to meet with the public before the matter comes to council — rather than after.

“The public are asking for more input, asking for more consultation,” Crawford told council, adding public input would be increased from the new requirement. “Getting public input early is critical.”

Courtenay senior planner Ian Buck, who worked for the City of Campbell River until this spring, noted Campbell River has used this process for years, and he believes it’s positive for developers, affected neighbourhoods and City staff.

“It does give staff that upfront information on what the issues are, it does allow for some work and negotiation to be done with the developers to try to make things go smoother,” he said. “So it’s a positive step, I think, for the neighbourhood, as well as the developer in understanding what the issues are.”

Coun. Doug Hillian asked Crawford how issues around noise and disruption of neighbourhoods close to commercial or industrial developments could be addressed with the new bylaw.

Crawford pointed out increased public input early on in the process would likely help with these sorts of issues.

“Ideally, hopefully, we can address future issues coming up with conflict between residential and commercial,” he said.

Buck also noted a new requirement for all residential developments larger than three units and commercial or industrial developments in excess of 470 square metres would require services from a licensed landscape architect to plan and design, oversee construction and monitor post-construction.

“The primary reason for this is so the landscape fabric of our community, the urban fabric, is dealt with in a positive manner,” he said, adding most of the landscaping done in new developments in the city is at a high level, but this new requirement would ensure it is.

Pre-application meetings would also be encouraged for all applications, rather than just for larger projects, and they would be more formal, allowing of a better understanding between City staff and the developer about what the project is and what is required for each application.

The internal referrals process would have agreed on response times and would be tracked in order to speed up the process.

Other internal changes to streamline the process are included in the bylaw — such as giving the director of legislative services more power to approve minor amendments to an application.

Council spoke positively about the work City staff put into the new bylaw and accompanying report, with Mayor Larry Jangula noting the changes look positive for everyone.

“If things are going smoothly for them (developers) it means employment for people, it means cash flow is coming into the City, it means things are happening,” said Jangula. “It’s a positive thing for both sides, and we need to address both sides of the issue, and I think that’s what we’re trying to do.”

The final reading is expected to come back before council on Aug. 7.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from Comox ferry staff

After Dasher made a dash, ferry staff found her and got her home safe

A rendering of the Denman Green plans for the Kirk Road site. Image, DHA/Ronan Design
Denman Green finds new site for housing

Facing COVID delays, the project reached expiration date on initial site

A fawn stands in a field. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
MARS hoping to build fawn complex for rehab

Their goal is to raise $20,000 in a relatively short period of time.

Aspen Park in Comox is the latest school reporting a COVID-19 exposure. Screenshot, Google Maps
Fifth Comox Valley school reports COVID-19 exposure

Exposure at Aspen Park in Comox was reported for Feb. 22

Cumberland Brewery is looking to expand its patio space temporarily for the summer. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland Brewery looks for temporary patio expansion

Move would allow business to spread customers outside in summer months

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Most Read