ABOUT THE PROJECT
In 2018 Town Administration initiated a comprehensive review and rewrite of the Land Use Bylaw to ensure the bylaw meets the land use and development need of Cochrane in the midst of rapid growth, and to reflect the unique character and natural landscape of the town. The current Land Use Bylaw No. 01/2004 was adopted in 2004.
The Municipal Government Act (MGA) requires every municipality to pass a Land Use Bylaw and gives the authority to prohibit or regulate and control the use and development of land and buildings within its jurisdiction. It guides how a Land Use Bylaw is to be structured and outline the required and optional provisions a municipality is to consider when creating a Land Use Bylaw. Generally, this includes:
- How land may be used;
- Parcel size and dimensions;
- The number and type of buildings or structures that can be considered for development and how they are used;
- Where buildings can be located;
- Building size, form, configuration, orientation, and appearance; and
- Other development considerations, such as parking, landscaping, signage and lighting.
Essentially, the Land Use Bylaw controls and regulates what can and cannot occur on a parcel of land and how building can be placed and constructed on that parcel. It is therefore one of Cochrane’s most important documents and has far-reaching implications for how the community is shaped.
VIEW THE LAND USE BYLAW
Review the current land use bylaw:
The team worked to develop a bylaw that achieved five key goals:
- Reduce red tape for residents and stakeholders
- Align with existing Town policies and provincial regulations
- Improve readability and enhance online bylaw presence
- Modernize regulations to reflect current development trends
- Highlight the importance of Historic Downtown
- Districts – Bylaw 01/2022 proposes to reduce the number of land use districts and consistently apply them across property types. The land use districts contained within the proposed bylaw breaks districts down into 5 types: Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Urban Service and Direct Control.
- Land Uses – Land Uses in Bylaw 01/2022 have been created and amended to ensure clarity in application. Rather than attempting to create discrete uses for every type of development, broader uses and definitions have been created with capture a wider subset of development types. This was done to help create flexibility and avoid redundancy and confusion between similar land uses.
- Development Authority and Permit Processing – The Development Authority and new Development Permit processing regulations account for some of the greatest efficiencies and improvements within Land Use Bylaw 01/2022 compared to its predecessor. The method through which Development Authority is displayed has been simplified, with the approving authority being discretely listed in each district within the Bylaw. Rather than a single list of uses under the authority of the Cochrane Planning Commission (CPC) in the administration section, land uses in every district have been listed in two columns which clearly delineate those that must go to CPC for approval. Efficiencies have also been created in the process for approving Development Permit applications. Through Section 1.19 a process has been included which allows low risk permit applications to proceed with development prior to the mandated 21-day appeal period ending. This will only be allowed at the discretion of the Development Authority, and if an appeal were to be filed all development would have to cease until the appeal was resolved. This new regulation will help remove roadblocks for small-scale development and improve long wait times for those applications which have little to no impact on the surrounding community.
- Parking – Parking regulations for non-residential uses in Bylaw 01/2022 have been revised to remove listed parking stall minimums. This is one of the most impactful changes proposed within the new Bylaw, and will have implications on how commercial, industrial, and urban service uses are approved. While parking is a recognized need for services within the community, listed parking stall minimums are often overly restrictive and don’t always accurately reflect the amount of parking needed for various uses. As opposed to listing the number of required parking stalls for each land use, Bylaw 01/2022 includes a clause which requires applicants to propose how many parking stalls will be needed for their specific application, as well as justification for the proposed number of stalls. Section 8.19.5 specifies that when the Development Authority is considering whether the proposed number of stalls is sufficient, they shall have consideration for the following factors:
- The scale of the development;
- The proposed use(s) of the site;
- The location of the development; and
- The parking required by various users on the site.
This regulatory approach was specifically drafted for Cochrane based on in-depth research of parking policy in similar jurisdictions, a local parking study, and public engagement which included multiple online-surveys. The aim of this approach is to ensure that appropriate amounts of parking stalls are being provided based on the context of the application, and avoid past scenarios where too many or too few stalls have been provided based on the previous method of listing parking stall minimums.
- Development Trends – New land uses have been included within the Bylaw to apply to modern development trends that were not contemplated in the previous Land Use Bylaw, including temporary commercial services, breweries, wineries and distilleries, and community gardens. The overall number of land uses listed has been reduced, while accounting for a broader range of development types that were designed to extend into the future and apply to continually modernizing development trends.
Now that the new Land Use Bylaw has received Council approval, Phase 6 of the project management plan has begun. Phase 6 includes the implementation, review and monitoring of the new Land Use Bylaw.
In 6 months, staff will provide an update to Town Council. This update will include information on how the new Land Use Bylaw is working and will also include more information on the newly defined role of the Cochrane Planning Commission.
In 12 months a second update will be provided to Council, along with any necessary amendments to the Bylaw.
Due to COVID-19, public engagement will continue virtually for this project.
The What We Heard Reports summarize the public engagement for this project to date and provides information about your feedback, including issues, concerns and suggestions. These are interim reports to stakeholders for this project.
- What we heard at the Residential Workshop
- What we heard at the Commercial Workshop
- What we heard at the Let’s Talk BBQ and Farmers Market
- What we heard in the Land Use Bylaw Survey
- What we heard in the Phase 3 Public Survey
- What we heard in the Phase 3 Workshop
- What we heard in the Phase 4 Residential Engagement
- Summary of Public Engagement
Town Council has participated in a series of workshops allowing for questions on proposed Land Use Bylaw regulations. View the video footage of these meetings below:
- Workshop #1 (April 8) Admin Section – https://cochraneab.civicweb.net/document/31310?splitscreen=true&media=true
- Workshop #2 (April 15) Residential Related Sections – https://cochraneab.civicweb.net/document/31411?splitscreen=true&media=true
- Workshop #3 (April 21) Non-Residential Related Sections – https://cochraneab.civicweb.net/document/31492?splitscreen=true&media=true
- Workshop #4 (April 27) Parking and the Western Heritage Design Framework – https://cochraneab.civicweb.net/document/31698?splitscreen=true&media=true
- Workshop #5 (May 13) Council’s Questions and Discussion – https://cochraneab.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=459