Morinville looking to make amendments to land use bylaw

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Some key issues in Morinville’s existing Land Use Bylaw could soon be addressed if proposed amendments are passed by Morinville Town Council. Councillors had an opportunity to look at those amendments May 17 during the monthly Committee of the Whole meeting.

The proposed amendments address a variety of issues that currently affect Morinville’s residential and commercial property owners and include development permit and appeal provisions, enforcement provisions, corner fences, deck projections, amenity areas, site access, sign provisions and clarity on home occupations for small businesses.

The bylaw would also amend some districts in town. The vacant land between Morinville Community High School and Aspen House, currently a combination of C1 (primary downtown commercial use) and Semi-Public is proposed to be redesignated C2. If passed, the redesignation would open the vacant lands to automotive and equipment repair shops, automotive and minor RV sales, auto body shops, gas stations, veterinary clinics and hospitals.

Theatres, in the Land Use Bylaw since 2003, were originally confined to Commercial Corridor (CC) districts. Amendments to the bylaw would now allow theatres in C1 (Primary Commercial) districts.

Some relief for home based businesses

While some of the amendments will open the door to what types of large-scale businesses can locate in town, there is also some help for those looking to start out in business from their homes. The proposed amendments deal with a number of issues that have confronted owners of home based businesses. Distinctions between minor and major home occupations will now be determined based on the key factors of number of employees, client visits to the premises and the use of utility trailers. Currently, a home based business would be considered a major occupation if the business stores materials or equipment in a detached garage or outbuilding. Any home based business that sells in the home would still be consider a major occupation.

Morinvile’s Director of Planning and Development, Greg Hoffman, said the proposed amendments to the Land Use Bylaw had been developed largely on feedback received over the past few years from the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC), town administration, developers and residents. The document has the support of the MPC and Morinville’s planning and development department.

Councillor David Pattison who prior to taking a seat on council held a seat on the MPC was also pleased with the amendments.” I really see this as improving the development-friendly nature of the community,” Pattison said, adding the proposed amendments address some of the anomalies in the existing bylaw. “These are the types of amendments that address a lot of the concerns that have created some heated discussion at the MPC from time to time.”

The bylaw amendments are scheduled to come before council May 24 for first reading. If the bylaw passes first reading, a public hearing would be held June 14 before the document could be given second and third reading.

The complete list of amendments can be found in the May 17 council package.

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