Land Use Bylaw Highlights
The Land Use Bylaw (LUB) was approved May 2, 2017. The new version is easier to read and understand, and there are some significant changes as well. For example,
Did You Know...
The new Land Use Bylaw allows for a new type of dwelling called Garden Suites. Garden Suites provide the opportunity for landowners in both the hamlets and rural areas to apply for an additional dwelling on their parcel as long as it meets the requirements of the Land Use Bylaw in terms of site location, size and servicing. Garden Suites are an ideal living opportunity for those who have elderly parents whom they care for, older adult children who live at home, as rentals for additional income, or however you feel they fit into your unique family.
Agri-tourism is a key component of the future of Wheatland County. The new Land Use Bylaw aims to increase opportunities for rural, agriculturally-focused businesses such as fruit wineries, corn mazes, u-pick farms and other ventures while ensuring they are appropriately incorporated into a farm-focused setting.
The new Land Use Bylaw (LUB) has eliminated animal unit regulations for Agricultural General (AG) and Country Residential (CR) District parcels.
The previous LUB controlled the number of animals allowed on each parcel, by its size. These regulations were removed from the new LUB (2016-01) to allow for greater flexibility and opportunity on rural parcels. Staff were of the opinion that there are too many exceptions and circumstances where strict animal controls on a parcel did not take into account unique circumstances such as: adjacent landowner agreements where cattle utilize multiple parcels; animals that are on a parcel seasonally; and circumstances where smaller parcels are perfectly suitable for more animals than the previous regulations allowed.
For example, the previous bylaw only allowed one horse per 3.0 acres (meaning that a 5.5 acre parcel would not allow for 2 horses). With the elimination of the animal unit regulations, a 5.5 acre parcel (as one example) would now be able to have multiple horses.
The County believes that the care and well-being of an animal is not dependent on parcel size but, rather, on the owner. If the County does receive a complaint regarding animal well-being, the process that is followed remains unchanged from the previous Land Use Bylaw —the County refers the complainant to the SPCA who has the appropriate resources to address these situations.
The new Land Use Bylaw has shrunk the minimum parcel size requirements within the hamlets. This provides the opportunity for smaller hamlet parcels that were not developable under the previous LUB (2007-56) to now have the potential for development—if servicing and setback requirements can be met.
This allows for increased growth opportunity within the County’s hamlets and will hopefully allow for additional development opportunities within these historic communities.
The new Land Use Bylaw includes requirements for landscaping, fencing and screening of large-scale commercial and industrial developments in Wheatland County. This initiative aims to improve the County’s gateway entrances and provide appropriate buffering between commercial/industrial and agricultural/residential land to minimize land use conflicts and improve the appearance of our hamlets and rural areas.
Landscaping plans were already requirements for Development Permits under the previous LUB. However, the updates further clarify when they are applicable to a parcel and the minimum standards that must be met.
These regulations do not apply to residential or agricultural parcels. They are determined at the Development Permit stage, depending on the scale and nature of the proposed development.
The new Land Use Bylaw has a brand new land use district called the Hamlet Mixed-Use District.
This district is designed to encourage a mix of residential and commercial uses on one parcel. It provides opportunities to add vibrancy to our main streets with additional housing and retail options in one building. Examples include: commercial stores with a residential component in the rear; retail storefronts with apartments above; and many other potential options.
In the previous Land Use Bylaw, commercial and residential uses were required to be segregated on different parcels. This change will allow for more flexibility and economic opportunity in the County.