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Zoning Bylaw Update

The Town of Sidney is in the process of updating its Zoning Bylaw to reflect the recently adopted Official Community Plan and new Provincial housing legislation. Opportunities for public input into the bylaw will be coming soon. See estimated dates in the timeline below.

Background

The Town’s current Zoning Bylaw – Bylaw No. 2015 – dates back to June 2012. For over a decade, it has served to implement the vision of the Town’s previous Official Community Plan (OCP) and provide clear regulatory guidance for building and development. In 2013 it received a Gold Award from the Planning Institute of BC for its innovative structure and user-friendly graphics and explanatory text. 

 The adoption of a new OCP for the Town of Sidney in June 2022 articulated a refreshed vision for the community and included new planning policy, development guidelines, and land use designations. While some aspects of the new OCP will be delivered directly via Town-led projects or development applications, many others will rely on the implementation of a new Zoning Bylaw, consistent with the new OCP, to achieve the updated policy and planning directions (i.e. having zoning in place that matches the intent of the OCP will help to facilitate the achievement of the OCP objectives.) 

Timeline

The Planning Department began the work to review and update the Zoning Bylaw in March 2023, and the project is expected to be completed by the end of June 2024. The project encompasses a complete review of all sections of the current Zoning Bylaw and the development of new regulations, with a focus on improvements to the natural environment, delivering options for affordable and attainable housing, action on climate, and implementation of other OCP policy. 

Overview of Zoning Bylaw Adoption Process (dates subject to change)

Date

Type of Meeting/Activity

Details

April 15, 2024

(Complete)

An initial version of the Draft Zoning Bylaw will be introduced to Council for comment. The draft bylaw may be revised before the Community Engagement Period, if directed by Council.

April 22, 2024

Regular Council Meeting

Council discusses draft Zoning Bylaw further and consider approval of Committee of the Whole recommendation.

April 23 – May 3, 2024

Community Engagement Period

Members of the public invited to attend Open Houses and learn about the draft Zoning Bylaw online or at Town Hall to provide feedback.

May 13, 2024

Regular Council Meeting

Staff provide report to Council on community feedback. Council recommend refinements to draft Zoning Bylaw based on community input.

May 27, 2024

Regular Council Meeting

Council considers giving first and second reading of Zoning Bylaw, which would then be referred to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for approval.

June 10, 2024

Regular Council Meeting

Public Hearing for Zoning Bylaw with possible third reading and approval by Council.

Below are a few aspects of the Zoning Bylaw update that Council has already considered.

As part of the Homes for People Action Plan, the Provincial Government has recently made some significant legislative changes that affect municipal zoning bylaws, including Sidney’s.  

The most significant change stemming from the Province’s new legislation is the end of single-family and duplex zoning in the Town’s Zoning Bylaw. By June 30, 2024, all single-family and duplex properties in Sidney will be permitted to accommodate up to 3 or 4 dwelling units (referred to generally as SSMUH) depending on lot size: 

  • Three units are permitted on lots that are 280 square metres or smaller, and 
  • Four units are permitted on lots that are 281 square metres or larger. 

The configuration of housing units can be varied. One property owner interested in redeveloping their property might opt to build a duplex with two secondary suites. Another property owner might build a carriage home behind their existing single-family home to suit their family’s needs.  

Housing development is costly, and some homeowners will not be interested in adding more housing to their property. It will be up to each individual property owner to decide if they want to make changes as a result of this new legislation.  

You can check the size of properties in Sidney by using the online application SidneyMap.

The details of the updated zoning to allow these new uses will be in place by June 30, 2024 as per Provincial requirements. Planning Department staff are currently working on the required updates, along with the broader update to the Zoning Bylaw that has been underway since March 2023. Although the Provincially-mandated changes are not optional for municipalities, there will be an opportunity for the public to view the proposed changes this spring when the draft changes are made public. Other unrelated updates to the Zoning Bylaw will be open for the community to review and comment on as well. 

With the pending expiry of the Summergate Village Land Use Contract on June 30, 2024, the current R4 zone will take effect on that date. However, planning staff are currently exploring a potential new zone that could apply to Summergate Village. More information about this can be found in the February 12, 2024 Staff Report to Council.

After considering the report, Council resolved to move ahead with amending the R4 zone to become a dedicated manufactured home zone to retain the current character of Summergate Village.