The provincial government has just introduced significant changes in legislation that will impact land use planning decisions in Parksville.
🏠 Public hearings for site-by-site rezoning will be eliminated, streamlining the application and review process, especially for proposals aligned with our Official Community Plan (OCP). This change aims to reduce duplication since OCPs already require public hearings. This includes mixed-use projects with at least 50% residential use.
🗣️ Instead, more opportunities for public input will be integrated into the OCP public consultation process. OCPs will now undergo updates every five years with public involvement. The focus will shift from planning for housing needs over five years to a 20-year horizon, emphasizing family-sized housing (two bedrooms or more), rental housing, and affordable housing. The Housing Needs Report requirement for municipalities will now consider housing needs over 20 years.
📅 Municipalities will receive OCP review instructions from the provincial government by July 2024, and the first review and OCP updates must be completed by the end of 2025. This timing appears to align with Parksville Council’s existing plan for reviewing our OCP.
🏘️ These changes will particularly affect the construction of multi-family residential units.
We’ve heard from nonprofit organizations and businesses of the great need for housing for workers and their families in the Oceanside region. I will be listening carefully to see how this legislation may support attainable housing for that segment in our community.
The information I have is very preliminary and all the implications for our community are unclear at this time. I’ll update as more details come to light and as we navigate these legislative changes that will shape our community’s future.