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Planning & Building

Housing on Agricultural Lands Update -
Proposed Bylaw Amendments

Summary

There are two amendment bylaws that are being proposed for housing on agricultural lands. These amendment bylaws are proposing a shift in how the District of Summerland limits residential uses on agricultural properties (properties zoned Agricultural Small Acreage A1 and Agricultural Small Acreage A2).

District of Summerland Official Community Plan (OCP) Amendment Bylaw No. 2022-022

The purpose of the proposed OCP amendment bylaw is to change policies under the Agricultural designation to broaden supported residential uses, encourage siting on lower capability lands and/or within a farm home plate and encourage use of higher capability lands for farming. 

Rather than confining residential development in the ALR to farm residences, the OCP amendment seeks to support housing options that meets the housing and operational needs of farmers and agricultural landowners.

The proposed OCP Amendment Bylaw is available here: Draft OCP Bylaw Amendment No. 2022-022


District-wide Text Amendments – Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2022-023

The purpose of the proposed bylaw is to change regulations for additional dwellings on Agricultural lands and remove user restrictions for them.  The bylaw also proposes to amend the farm home plate regulations applicable to all residential uses on Agricultural lands.  These changes affect all properties in the Agricultural Small Acreage A1 zone and Agricultural Large Acreage A2 zone.

Allow “carriage house” as a permitted accessory use in the A1 and A2 zone

  • Replace “additional dwelling for farm help” use with “carriage house”
  • Require “carriage houses” to be within the “farm home plate”
  • Align maximum floor area with current carriage house regulations (lesser of 90m2 or 75% floor area of principal dwelling) and floor area calculations with Agricultural Land Commission permissions

Amend “farm home plate” regulations

  • Redefine the “farm home plate” and contain all residential areas within the “farm home plate”
  • Require siting of new “farm home plates” to be abutting a road or on land not suitable for farming
  • Allow for existing “farm home plates” to be used even if they don’t meet the new siting or size requirements
  • Have one maximum size of a “farm home plate” regardless of what is sited within it (905 m2 in A1 and 1,200 m2 in A2)
  • Increase allowable “farm home plate” coverage from 35% to 45%
  • Exclude temporary farm worker accommodation from the farm home plate and allow siting within or abutting the farm home plate or on land not suitable for farming
  • Remove the gross floor area maximum for residential accessory buildings

The proposed zoning amendment bylaw is available here: Zoning Bylaw Amendment No. 2022-023

What is a “carriage house”?

Carriage House means “a secondary Dwelling constructed in an Accessory Building”.  An accessory building is detached from a principal building (like a main house) so it is a self-confined unit that is in a detached building. 

How is a “carriage house” different from an “additional dwelling for farm help”?

The main difference between an “additional dwelling for farm help” and a “carriage house” is that anyone can rent or occupy a carriage house. It is not restricted to a specific user group (full-time farm help). A carriage house can be used by the property owners or their family/friends, rented out long-term or short term (if short term regulations are met). 

Can I have a secondary suite and a carriage house?

The zoning bylaw does not allow for carriage houses to be on the same property as a secondary suite so you are limited to one or the other. The proposed amendments align with the current zoning bylaw’s limitation for one secondary suite or one carriage house.

What is a “farm home plate”?

In general terms, a farm home plate is a designated area where a residence and its associated uses are located on an agricultural property. It is meant to limit the area used for residential purposes to leave more land for farming purposes.

The proposed bylaw changes the definition of the “farm home plate” to mean “a contiguous residential footprint area within a defined perimeter on a Lot that contains all Principal and Accessory Uses, Building and Structures associated with residential Use, but excludes Temporary Farm Worker Accommodation.”

What options are available for a “farm home plate” under the proposed bylaw?

There are three options for farm home plates:

1) Farm home plates can be sited next to a road. 

2) If there is a non-farmable portion of your property you wish to use instead, you can site a farm home plate there as long as there is a supporting agrologist’s report stating that the land is not suitable for farming. 

3) If there is an established home on the property, you can use the existing farm home plate. 

1

Public Hearing

A public hearing on the proposed bylaws will be held:

Monday, July 25, 2022
6pm
At Municipal Hall Council Chambers OR via Zoom

You can speak at the public hearing or provide written submission in advance of the Public Hearing. 

We encourage members of the public to preregister on the speakers list in advance of the Public Hearing.  To register to speak, email corporateofficer@summerland.ca and provide your name, civic address, and cite the application number (Z22-002) and whether you wish to attend via Zoom or in-person at Municipal Hall.  After everyone from the speaker’s list has been given opportunity for comment, the floor will be opened to those who did not register to speak. 

Comments may be made through written correspondence up until 12:00 noon on Monday, July 25, 2022.  Written comments can be sent by email to the Corporate Officer at corporateofficer@summerland.ca or by letter to District of Summerland Municipal Hall.

Public Hearing Notice – Newspaper Ad

Background

On December 31, 2021, ALR Regulation 30/2019 was amended to allow for an additional residence up to 90 m2 on parcels less than 40 ha without ALC approval, if the principal residence is 500 m2 or less. 

 The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) establishes regulations and governs land use within the ALR and this most recent amendment was completed to add residential housing flexibility within the ALR for agricultural landowners and farmers. Since the announcement of the proposed regulatory amendment (July 2021), the District’s offices have been getting regular inquiries about the potential to add a secondary residence on agricultural properties from local farmers and landowners interested in providing more housing options on their properties and subsidizing their farm income with rental revenue.

 In response to changes to ALR Regulation 30/2019 to allow for an additional residence up to 90 m2 on parcels less than 40 ha without ALC approval, if the principal residence is 500 m2 or less, Council passed the following resolution at its May 9, 2022 meeting:

THAT staff be directed to draft Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments for housing on agricultural lands to:

  • Allow flexibility of residential uses by allowing carriage houses up to 90 m2 on agricultural lands
  • Limit residential encroachment by siting carriage houses within the existing farm home plate
  • Discourage the use of arable lands for residential purposes further by specifying siting conditions for the farm home plate to be located near roads or on non-arable land (land not suitable for agricultural production).

 

Further background information can be found in here:

Report to Council –June 27, 2022 – RFD Z22-002 - Council Report
Council Presentation Slides – June 27, 2022 – Presentation Slides - Housing on Ag Lands

Report to Council –May 9, 2022 – RFD Z22-002 Report -Housing on Ag Land Review
Council Presentation Slides – May 9, 2022 – Presentation Slides

Questions?

Please feel free to contact JoAnn Peachey, Planner II at 250-404-4097 or jpeachey@summerland.ca if you have any questions about the proposed bylaws.