Part 2 of 3
Last week marked the beginning of our three-week series on development permit areas (DPAs), with an introduction to DPAs. This week, we look at how DPAs work.
Once a DPA has been designated, a development permit is required before beginning certain types of development, usually including most land alteration, construction, and subdivision activities, within the designated area. Property owners must apply for a development permit through the Islands Trust. Staff will review the application and forward it to the Gabriola Island Local Trust Committee for decision.
When a property owner submits an application for a development that meets the guidelines for the designated area, a development permit must be issued. In other words, unlike some other land use applications (e.g. rezoning), local governments do not have discretion to refuse a development permit if all the guidelines are met. This is because the guidelines are established by bylaw, complete with a public hearing, so the guidelines themselves reflect the vision of the community.
To determine whether or not your property is within a DPA, refer to the Gabriola Island Official Community Plan, Schedule C, which is available online as well as from the Islands Trust Northern Office. If your property is located in more than one DPA, development is subject to the guidelines of each applicable DPA. However, if you need a development permit, you will only need to submit one application and pay one fee.
The Gabriola Island Local Trust Committee is currently looking to establish DPAs 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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