Town re­views Land Use By­law

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Kyle Smylie

The Drumheller Mu­nic­i­pal Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and town coun­cil are work­ing on mod­ern­iz­ing the town’s land use by­law to up­date def­i­ni­tions and add land uses such as “me­dia pro­duc­tion ser­vices” and “med­i­cal mar­i­juana pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties.”

The land use by­law, which de­scribes ways in which prop­erty can be used and en­forces reg­u­la­tions on land uses, has not seen sig­nif­i­cant up­dates for over a decade, said coun­cil­lor Tom Zariski, who along with coun­cil­lor Sharel Shoff sits on the Mu­nic­i­pal Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

“Changes hap­pen so we thought we’d up­date the doc­u­ment so it was a lit­tle bit more mod­ern.”

“Quite sim­ply put, our land use by­law needs to be re­viewed pe­ri­od­i­cally be­cause the needs of the com­mu­nity change. Who would have thought ten years ago we would be con­sid­er­ing reg­u­la­tions for med­i­cal mar­i­juana fa­cil­i­ties?” said coun­cil­lor Patrick Ko­lafa.

“Also changes to sec­ondary suites and granny suites may help serve the com­mu­nity which has an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion. But at the same time we don’t want to add red tape for peo­ple to de­velop their prop­erty,” he said.

The Mu­nic­i­pal Plan­ning Com­mis­sion (MPC) and Pal­liser have been look­ing at other mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s land use by­laws to find ways in which to bring Drumheller’s up to speed. Added land uses in­clude granny suites, which are self-con­tained sec­ondary dwellings without a base­ment; self-stor­age fa­cil­i­ties; me­dia pro­duc­tion ser­vices, which re­fer to spa­ces used by work­ers in the field of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, in­for­ma­tion, and en­ter­tain­ment to cre­ate me­dia; med­i­cal mar­i­juana pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties used to grow, process, pack­age, test, de­stroy, store, or ship mar­i­juana for medic­i­nal pur­poses, and adding a def­i­ni­tion for mu­rals into the by­law.

Zariski said the mar­i­juana pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity is a good ex­am­ple of mod­ern in­dus­try which would not have been heard of twenty years ago.

“It’s not an in­cen­tive or any­thing like that, though,” he said. “Pal­liser has looked at a num­ber of other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and found where Drumheller may have been de­fi­cient.”

An ex­am­ple of an out­dated def­i­ni­tion which has been re­vised is that of a du­plex. Du­plexes are de­fined in the cur­rent by­law as a res­i­dence di­vided hor­i­zon­tally, like a main floor and base­ment, but the mod­ern and com­mon un­der­stand­ing of a du­plex is a shared res­i­dence di­vided ver­ti­cally, or side by side.

“We just had to change stuff like that be­cause it didn’t make any sense any more,” said Zariski.

Amend­ments were brought to coun­cil ear­lier this year be­fore some changes were re­jected or rec­om­mended to be re­vised, and the MPC will be bring­ing a sec­ond draft to coun­cil for ap­proval in about a month, Zariski said. A pub­lic hear­ing was held Tues­day, Septem­ber 6 in or­der for coun­cil to hear res­i­dent’s opin­ions re­gard­ing the by­law amend­ments.

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