South Cariboo OCP up for changes

Agricultural uses, temporary permits reviewed at CRD public meeting

A public hearing was held April 15 prior to amendments that are proposed for the South Cariboo Area Official Community Plan (OCP).

The amendments are essentially to update the 1996 OCP to incorporate some more recent planning tools.

These will provide new temporary use permits, authorize some development approval information, amend the Acreage Reserve designation to allow for agricultural uses, and address some numbering errors in the OCP.

Only 10 people turned out for the meeting, but Cariboo Regional District (CRD) chair Al Richmond says there wasn’t any specific zoning amendments, so there wasn’t a lot of interest.

“With the acreage reserves, we have some large areas where [the OCP] didn’t allow for agricultural uses, which, in my opinion, was an oversight.”

The issue was raised about a year ago, he explains, so the board had a closer look at it.

Richmond adds an example is a person with a property in the acreage reserve that didn’t have horses or cattle on it 17 years ago when the OCP last changed, was not allowed to have these on the property since then.

The intent of an acreage reserve is to hold land for residential use under future population expansion.

“On the corner of Highway 24 and Highway 97 there was an area of acreage reserves there, which is fine. But, it should not have precluded the ability to do some agricultural work there because of the intent to put in some residential [areas].”

Some other issues also drew attention, he notes.

“One fellow was particularly interested in the temporary permit and outlined some of the challenges he is having in doing something on a temporary basis, so there was support for [that].

“This allows us to let something happen with a piece of property without permanently amending the zoning to it. There is still consultation on it but … now we can actually provide a permit for this to happen for a period of a year, and then it will go back to its original zoning.”

Richmond notes that sometimes it doesn’t make sense to permanently adjust allowable property uses for something as simple as a permit for temporary gravel removal.

He says it “changes the whole concept of the community” to rezone a property into an industrial/commercial type operation for soil extraction, so this would facilitate the allowable uses to revert back.

Another change was to provide the CRD the ability to require information up front from developers within the OCP area, such as details about the aquifer or geotechnical aspects.

Richmond notes the entire Advisory Planning Commission from Forest Grove attended the public hearing, as its new members wanted to discuss general zoning issues.