Official Community Plan
The Kelowna Official Community Plan (OCP) provides a policy framework for Council by addressing issues such as housing, transportation, infrastructure, parks, economic development and the natural and social environment.
Update March 2017: Proposed OCP Amendments for Temporary Farm Worker Housing
The City is seeking public input regarding proposed miscellaneous OCP bylaw amendments, OCP16-0022, that introduce policy with respect to housing temporary farm workers for less than 8 months per calendar year. The amendments are proposed to help protect agriculture land for farming and the policy proposes to:
- Use existing dwellings as a first option for temporary farm worker housing on a farm;
- Locate the temporary farm worker housing within the residential footprint area or near the road;
- Use vegetated buffers to screen temporary farm worker housing; and to
- Encourage the location of farm help housing in urban areas.
Amendments are also being proposed to the Zoning Bylaw (TA16-0015) and the Development Application Procedures Bylaw (TA16-0016) to complement the proposed OCP Policy. These additional amendments propose requirements that must be met in order to apply for a temporary farm worker housing permit. Further, the proposed policies set a maximum limit to house 40 temporary farm workers per farm unit, with additions allowed for those properties with greenhouses and/or on-farm processing structures. A process of a site specific zoning amendment would be required for applications to house more than 40 workers per farm unit.
It should be noted that those properties that require farm workers for than 8 months per calendar year go through a different, established application process for Full Time Farm Worker Housing.
To review all proposed amendments see the March 6 Council Report, item 3.2. Comments on the proposed policy can be directed to Tracy Guidi (email@example.com) by March 31, 2017. Public input will be included in a subsequent report to Council, and a public hearing must be held prior to any bylaw amendments being adopted.
Kelowna 2030: Greening our Future
The OCP is intended to address sustainability as the focus of community goals, objectives and policy.
Official Community Plans deal with issues expected to arise over the coming twenty-year period. These plans are typically reviewed/refined every five years to ensure that the OCP continues to meet community needs.
The fifth consecutive OCP Indicators Report is now available. The report is the City’s principal effort in monitoring the effectiveness of the OCP on the ground. As progress is measured and trends emerge, the City is able to make adjustments or alterations where needed to ensure that the OCP remains an relevant and effective guiding document.This year’s report suggests an overall positive performance, with 76% of the indicators performing in a positive or neutral direction.
All municipal policies, plans and regulations must be in alignment with the OCP Bylaw, so it is a powerful guide to City decision-making. An effective OCP provides clear direction but does not preclude change to the plan based on evolving circumstances or interpretation of policies by Council and staff. In this way, an OCP is often considered a “living document”. This OCP Review seeks to integrate or ‘hardwire’ sustainability into all decisions and create greater alignment of City policies, programs, and projects.
An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a City bylaw that defines policies for land use and development. An OCP takes a long range view, in this case through to 2030, to ensure that the needs of current and new residents can be accommodated in that period. For instance, based on population projections (how many people will be born or move here), we learn about how many new homes will be needed. The OCP details what types of homes (apartment, townhouses, single family homes, etc.) are needed and provides policy direction on how, when and where those new homes will be located. The OCP, in addition to housing, addresses many other aspects of the City including environmental protection, economic development, transportation, infrastructure and land use.
City Council, city staff, developers and professionals (architects, engineers, planners, landscape architects, etc.) use the OCP to understand what the community wants as it relates to the delivery of housing and other land uses (types, character), transportation services, infrastructure and amenities. They also use the OCP to understand which areas are suitable for development and which are not (environmentally sensitive areas, steep slopes, hazardous areas, etc.). The public can use the OCP to gain a better understanding of local issues and how they are planned to be addressed or what changes may happen in their neighbourhood.
Provincial legislation (Local Government Act) outlines the purpose, required content and discretionary content of an OCP. The purpose of an OCP, under this legislation, is a “statement of objectives and policies to guide decisions on planning and land use management”. Kelowna has a number of plans or guidelines in place that have a very detailed focus on specific issues in the community that may or may not be land use oriented. This is not uncommon for a City of our size. However, inclusion of all those other issues in an OCP creates an unwieldy document that is not necessarily focused on land use and development as intended in the legislation. In the case of Kelowna, there is enough Council and community support for these other plans in place today to stand on their own as separate policy documents and to create an OCP focused exclusively on land use planning and development.
An OCP Review involves significant public involvement from the beginning to the end so that goals and policies reflect community concerns and hopes for the future. During an OCP updae, the review process is open, transparent, and requires broad input from residents, elected officials, staff, and stakeholders. It is the City’s goal to engage residents of all ages and walks of life to participate in a wide number of activities over the life of the review.
The Zoning Bylaw is a regulatory tool that is very specific about land use, density, building siting (where its located on a lot) and other issues such as landscaping and lot coverage requirement as it relates to a lot or site. The OCP is more strategic and often less prescriptive about specific sites. For instance, the OCP will say “this area will be a future growth area for high density housing” where the Zoning Bylaw will say that the building on that specific lot will be 12 storeys tall and cover 50% of the lot.