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Task force results to be included in bylaw - administration

Canmore’s planning department responded to criticisms by the development industry of the Land Use Bylaw at a recent public hearing.

Canmore’s planning department responded to criticisms by the development industry of the Land Use Bylaw at a recent public hearing.

The industry was critical of wording regarding Canmore’s Sustainability Screening Report process, but manager of planning Gary Buxton said last week in an interview with the Outlook that because of the nature of the bylaw there is plenty of time to change it, including recommendations of a task force set to look into the process this year.

Buxton said the SSR policy is still in place and unless directed by council, it is not unreasonable for the LUB to include wording even if a task force has been struck.

“Since we have a policy in place and council did not tell us repeal it, what he have done is left it in,” he said.

Further to that, Buxton said changes made in December by the minister of municipal affairs, in the opinion of administration, do not preclude requiring an SSR at the development permit stage.

The new regulation states: A development authority may not require, as a condition of a completed development permit application, the submission to and approval by council of a report regarding the development.

Buxton said the wording prevents council from using an SSR for a development permit, but does not prevent the development authority from asking for one to be submitted.

“The SSR is now an administrative process,” he said with respect to development permits. “It is to be handled by the development authority or planning commission in the same way as you would submit an environmental impact study, traffic or retail study.”

One of the criticisms the Bow Valley Builders and Developers Association has had of the process is that an SSR has to be approved for a development permit application to be considered complete.

The argument was that if it was not approved and an application not considered complete, there is no grounds for appeal of that to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, thus subverting property rights.

“We appreciate we cannot do that and council cannot be involved,” Buxton said. “We will change the wording of that to resolve the issue.”

Buxton explained the LUB wording means an SSR report has to be included as part of the permit application itself, not a pre-requisite.

With the task force set to be officially struck this week, he said its recommendations will form part of the changes to the overall Land Use Bylaw, which will take a while to reach third reading.

“We are not going to be able to get to third or second reading until we resolve these issues,” he said. “The output from the SSR task force will roll into second reading of the Land Use Bylaw.

“Given those changes, we are considering a second public hearing because of the number and magnitude of changes.”

In addition to the SSR wording of the bylaw, Buxton said administration and BOWDA are in discussions and working on other issues brought up at the public hearing, such as roof heights.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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