Part 1 of 3
Like zoning, Development Permit Areas are a type of land-use regulation. Whereas zoning powers extend only as far as regulating the use, density, siting, size, and dimensions of buildings and structures, Development Permit Areas allow local governments to achieve broader land-use goals and objectives, such as environmental protection and downtown revitalisation. Most communities have adopted Development Permit Areas as a reflection of their desire to develop in a way that is respectful of the environment and that is in keeping with a look and feel unique to place.
Development Permit Areas can be designated for a variety of purposes, including:
• protecting the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity;
• protecting development from hazardous conditions;
• protecting farming;
• revitalising an area in which a commercial use is permitted;
• establishing objectives for the form and character of commercial, multi-family and industrial development;
• establishing objectives for the form and character of intensive residential development; and
• establishing objectives for promoting the conservation of water, energy, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Development Permit Areas must be established through a bylaw on which a public hearing must be held. When designating a Development Permit Area, a justification must be provided and guidelines must be established for development within that area. This way, community goals are translated into regulation in a transparent way, providing clear direction to landowners and developers when planning for development, and for local governments when making decisions on development proposals.
The Gabriola Island Local Trust Committee is currently looking to establish Development Permit Areas to protect ecologically sensitive riparian areas and to protect development from steep slope hazards. Please visit the new project website http://gabrioladpas.com for more information and opportunities to become involved.
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