Coldstream is taking a go-slow approach when it comes to possibly changing the sizes of rural lots.
Council has rescinded previous support for a proposed bylaw that would create two new zones based on 10 hectares and 30 hectares.
“We will back up a step and allow the public to provide input,” said Mayor Jim Garlick, adding that the goal of the proposed bylaw was not fully understood.
“We need people to come out and partake in the process. It will be an opportunity for us to present information on what brought us here.”
A public meeting will be held some time in January.
Among the issues driving the bylaw are Vernon’s concerns about hobby farms accessing the less expensive agricultural water rate, and a possibility of “monster” houses being constructed on large lots which are then carved up.
Under the bylaw, each new lot would have to be 10 hectares (25 acres) in size instead of the current two hectares (five acres). The rule would apply to all land in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
But for hillside properties not within the Agricultural Land Reserve, there would be a new zone that would go from two to 30 hectares in size.
While some residents have been concerned that the proposed bylaw would place some properties in contravention, the district insists that’s not the case.
“The 10-hectare regulation only applies to properties that are proposed to be subdivided and are in the ALR”, said Craig Broderick, director of development services.
“The Agricultural Land Commission would also have to approve the subdivision of land in the ALR.”
Non-conforming policies only apply to land uses and the siting of buildings and not lot sizes.
If a property owner never applies to subdivide their land, they are not impacted by the bylaw and continue to meet the zoning requirements of the district.
The proposed bylaw also sets guidelines for the location of non-agricultural buildings and setbacks for riding arenas.
Coun. Maria Besso says the goal of the process is to ensure agriculture is viable.
“The smaller the parcel of land, the harder it is to have sustainable farming,” she said.