The Legislative Framework

Division 4 of the British Columbia Local Government Act requires municipalities to develop, adopt by bylaw and maintain an Official Community Plan. The Plan must be comprehensively reviewed and updated from time to time. There are several topics that must be covered in text and maps within an Official Community Plan including:

  • the approximate location, amount, type and density of housing needed to meet projected housing needs over a period of at least 5 years;
  • The approximate location, amount and type of present and proposed commercial, industrial, institutional, agricultural, recreational and public utility land uses;
  • The approximate location and area of sand and gravel deposits suitable for future sand and gravel extraction;
  • Restrictions on the use of land subject to hazardous conditions or environmentally sensitive to development;
  • The approximate location and asing of any major road, sewer and water systems;
  • The approximate location and type of present and proposed public facilities, including schools, parks and waste treatment and disposal sites; and
  • Other matters that may, in respect of any plan, be required or authorized by the minister.

An Official Community Plan must also include:

  • A regional context statement;
  • Housing policies of the local government respecting affordable housing, rental housing and special needs housing;
  • Targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the area covered by the plan, and policies and actions of the local government proposed with respect to achieving those targets; and
  • Consideration of applicable provincial policy guidelines.

Policy statements that can be included in an Official Community Plan but are not required by the Local Government Act include those related to social needs and social development, farmland protection and enhancement and environmental protection.

At least one opportunity for public consultation must be included in the process to develop or renew an Official Community Plan in addition to a public hearing to adopt the final plan.

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