Clarification for New Planning Documents
Farm Animals: the gist, what you may have heard, and the facts
THE GIST: The existing Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and Land Use By-Law (LUB) contain some regulations for Farm Animals. These only occur in a small number of zones that cover a small portion of the Municipality. The new documents keep only the regulations for Farm Animals that are currently in place. No expansion or new regulations for Farm Animals are included in the new MPS and LUB.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: New regulations are being introduced that will control or affect the ability to keep Farm Animals. Regulations are being expanded to affect new areas that previously did not have regulations for Farm Animals. This is false.
THE FACTS: While an early version of the draft plan called for expansion of these regulations to other zones, Council has decided to remove this proposal. This means that no new regulations are included for Farm Animals, and the areas that regulate Farm Animals has not been expanded. Council has decided to form a Committee made up of members of the public to discuss and recommend a set of regulations for Farm Animals. This Committee is expected to be formed and begin work in 2020, any potential changes to Farm Animal regulations will occur after that time. Once the Terms of Reference for the Committee have been finalized, advertisements will be circulated so that members of the public may submit an application to join the Committee.
MPS Policy vs. LUB Regulations: the gist, what you may have heard, and the facts
GIST: The new planning documents include the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and Land Use By-law (LUB). These documents work together. The MPS contains policy statements, which may seem broad or wide-ranging. This is so small changes needed over time can be accommodated without changing the overall Planning Strategy. Those small changes are made to the LUB, which contains the rules or regulations that are used to implement the policy statements. The rules in the LUB are precise and are not vague. When issuing a permit, it is the regulations from the LUB that are reviewed, not the policy from the MPS. In other words, the policy statements of the MPS are not enforceable without regulations detailed in the LUB.
Policy statements provide an overview of the wide variety of wishes and desires for how the Municipality will grow and develop. Council agreed to these policies after many public meetings and engagement with residents. The policy statements try to find a balance between the different wishes, concerns and suggestions that Council heard.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: Quotes and copies of policy statements are being circulated with claims that Council is looking to regulate the appearance of garden sheds, or to require a permit to excavate or infill a garden. This use of policy without looking at the regulations from the Land Use By-law does not give a full or complete view of what is being proposed in the new documents.
THE FACTS: Policy statements contained in the MPS are meant to be read together with the Land Use By-law. The MPS cannot be enforced as a stand-alone policy. Regulations in the LUB may be different for different areas or zones but be based on the same MPS policy.
Yard Sales: the gist, what you may have heard, and the facts
THE GIST: The previous draft of the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and Land Use By-law (LUB) did have rules for Yard Sales. We heard during the 14 public engagement meetings last year that this was going too far. Based on that feedback from residents, Council decided to remove these regulations.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: Information has been circulating claiming that these regulations have not been removed. This is false.
THE FACTS: There is policy in the existing MPS that defines a “Temporary Use” and the length of time where it is considered temporary. This is carried forward into the new documents, but the new documents specifically exempt Yard Sales from requiring a permit.
External Appearance of Structures: the gist, what you may have heard, and the facts
THE GIST: A policy statement in the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) allows Council to regulate the external appearance of structures.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: This policy is being quoted with statements that Council will regulate particular colours, building materials or the appearance for sheds and structures in all areas. This is false.
The Facts: Looking at the Land Use By-law for regulations, it becomes clear that the only regulation of the appearance of structures applies to very large developments that require a Development Agreement. The vast majority of development and building projects will not have any regulation of the appearance of the structure. This includes small business and residential.
RV Regulations: the gist, what you may have heard, and the facts
THE GIST: We heard calls from residents in some zones to implement controls and regulations of RVs being used as a dwelling. The proposed regulations were adjusted following the public consultation meetings in 2018.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: That all RVs will require a permit or approval and that there is a limit on the number of days in which an RV can be inhabited. This is false.
THE FACTS: The regulations for RVs only apply in the following zones: Single Unit Residential Zone and Settlement Residential Zone One, please review the draft zoning map to see the extent of these zones: https://modc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=c4fe9ff1aad34937a27665db7d12043a
In addition, the regulations were applied to these areas specifically at the request of residents and property owners’ associations.
Home-Based Business vs. Mixed Use Zoning: the gist, what you may have heard, and the facts
THE GIST: The new planning documents allow businesses (commercial) and light industrial uses in most parts of the Municipality. The new documents support this historic development pattern and most zones in the new plan allow for a wide mix of residential, commercial and light industrial uses. The new documents may require a permit for businesses in some zones, but this is dependent on location, type and size of the business. Keep in mind that this impacts new businesses that are looking to open or existing businesses that are looking to expand.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: The new documents will stop you from operating a business from your property. Those properties that fall under the new Mixed Use Zone are losing rights and the ability to run a business. This is false.
THE FACTS: Most zones in the new documents allow for a mix of residential, commercial and light industrial uses. Permits are required in some zones in order to maintain setbacks or separation between different uses on neighbouring properties.
Short-Term Rental: the gist, what you may have heard, and the facts
THE GIST: While quite controversial, with many people both for and against, the new planning documents do not regulate Short-Term Rentals, such as Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: The new documents will require a permit, increase taxes or prevent you from operating a Short-Term Rental accommodation from your home or property. This is false.
THE FACTS: The new planning documents have no regulations for Short-Term Rentals. No permit or approval is required to open or operate a Short-Term Rental. However, the Province is looking at regulations around safety that will affect short-term rentals.
Infill, Excavation and Alteration of Land Levels: the gist, what you may have heard, and the facts
THE GIST: The new planning documents have some rules for infill and excavation in certain cases. The documents NEVER regulate infill or excavation unless a Development Permit is required and has been applied for.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: Permits will be required to bring soil in for a garden. This is false.
THE FACTS: The Land Use By-law only regulates infill and excavation when a Development Permit or planning approval is required. The act of infilling or excavating land itself does not require a permit or approval. The only time regulations apply is when a permit will be required for the construction of the project. In this case, once an application is made for a permit, the regulations apply to any removal or infill at the site until the completion of the project.
Storage of Lobster Pots: the gist, what you may have heard, and the facts
THE GIST: The Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-laws regulate buildings and the use of land. In the case of a commercial fishing operation, the commercial activity occurs on the water and during the sale of the product (to a plant or at a market). The storage of lobster pots (traps) on the same lot as a residence would not require a permit or planning approval.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: the new planning documents will prevent, prohibit or require a permit in order to store lobster pots on a residential property. This is false.
THE FACTS: The storage of lobster pots on a residential property does not require a permit or planning approval. The main use of the property is residential, and the storage of the lobster pots is looked at the same as storing wood, rock or other materials. So long as there is not commercial activity taking place on the site, the main use of the property remains residential.
Outdoor Wood Furnaces: the gist, what you may have heard, and the facts
THE GIST: Residents of a specific zone, the Single Unit Residential (See Zoning Map: https://modc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=c4fe9ff1aad34937a27665db7d12043a) asked that Council ban outdoor wood furnaces in their area. This change has been made in the final draft of the new planning documents. This change only affects the Single Unit Residential zone and only applies to an outdoor wood furnace. The regulations do not affect indoor wood furnaces, wood stoves, fireplaces or outdoor campfires.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: That the new documents will ban outdoor wood furnaces in many or all areas. This is false.
THE FACTS: In most parts of the Municipality outdoor wood furnaces are permitted, with setbacks from property lines in some zones. In the General Basic zone, they are not regulated at all. In the Single Unit Residential Zone, at the request of the current residents, the new documents will prohibit the installation of new outdoor wood furnaces.
Solar Panels: the gist, what you may have heard, and the fact
THE GIST: The new planning documents support the transition to renewable energy sources. We heard comments that the regulations proposed for solar panels were too restrictive, and Council requested that staff relax these regulations. The goal for these regulations is to provide a balance between protection of residential properties while not over-regulating the use of land.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: That the new documents prohibit, or overly limit the installation of solar panels. This is false.
THE FACTS: Solar panels attached to a building are not regulated by the planning documents. No permits or approval are required and there is no limit to production capacity. In most zones, solar panels that are not attached to a building will require a Development Permit, and there is a maximum capacity of 100 kW of generation.
MOC has been Zoned Since 2004: the gist, what you may have heard, and the facts
THE GIST: The Municipality of Chester already has zoning. In fact, all parts of the Municipality have been zoned since 2004. Planning documents are required to be reviewed and updated regularly. The reVISION Plan Review is simply our required review and update of the existing planning documents.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: The new documents are expanding zoning to areas that have never had land use controls. This is false.
THE FACTS: The new planning documents are making some changes to the zoning of the Municipality. While all areas are currently zoned, the new plan introduces new zones in some areas. This generally affects areas between Highway 103 and the coast. The intent behind zoning and regulating land use is to improve the quality of life for all residents. The regulations allow most types of development, with different rules, setbacks or permit requirements, depending on the type and size of project you are building. The regulations and setbacks aim to reduce or minimize any conflicts that might occur between different land uses that share a property boundary. For example, by requiring a Development Permit and setbacks for new light industrial uses, this would ensure that should a new business locate next to your property, there would be some separation between the new building and your property.
Department of Agriculture guidelines were followed when setting the Farm Animal Setbacks, who is enforcing them now?
The Department of Agriculture have manure management guidelines, but they are only guidelines.
We used the guidelines to establish setbacks for Livestock operations. By placing them in the land use by-law as a General Provision they would apply in all zones and would be enforceable by the Municipality.