Omnibus amendments to Morinville Land Use Bylaw passes first reading

Above: Fire pits regulations will now be part of the Land Use Bylaw as a permitted development.


Article Summary:

  • Morinville’s Land Use Bylaw undergoes a comprehensive overhaul after more than a decade, with 300+ changes focusing on clarity and consistency.
  • Fire pit regulations are now incorporated into the bylaw, making them a permitted development for a property rather than tied to individuals.
  • The omnibus amendment, passed in its first reading, prompts notices for a public hearing on Feb. 13, prior to second and third readings

by Colin Smith

An omnibus amendment to give Morinville’s Land Use Bylaw its first thorough overhaul for more than ten years has received its first reading by the town council.

Introducing the measure to council at its Tuesday, Jan. 23 meeting, Senior Planner Duncan Martin of the Planning and Economic Development department said that the Land Use Bylaw has had 51 amendments since it was passed in 2012.

Martin noted that continuous review and refinement of the bylaw is considered best practice, as trends in development change over time and its continuous use points to opportunities for refinement.

The purpose of the update is to provide a thorough review of the Land Use Bylaw to ensure it is clear, consistent and complies with provincial legislation.

It focuses on clarifying definitions and general regulations without changes to land use districts or penalties for bylaw regulations.

“This is a regular review and housekeeping,” said Martin. “They are important, but in no way is this a new land use bylaw.

“Just like a car, we have detailed it, but we didn’t go out and buy a whole new car.”

More than 300 textual changes have been included in the omnibus amendment, most to provide clarity for the user. Other reasons for changes include incorporation into other sections and combination into other definitions.

Fire pit regulations will now be incorporated into the Land Use Bylaw.
The new regulations will make fire pits a permitted development for a property rather than being related to an individual.

That would prevent fire pits from becoming illegal when a property changes hands and would increase enforcement options if required.
An amendment to the Fire Services Bylaw to reflect this change to the Land Use Bylaw was also given first reading.

Once change to landscaping standards, with relation to on-site grading and development, provides clarity and consistency for developers.
The amended bylaw would include a definition of a violation tag: a ticket or similar document issued by a peace officer pursuant to the Municipal Government Act.

The process of developing the omnibus amendment began with an audit of the bylaw by Invistec Consulting Ltd. that focused on internal consistency and alignment with best practices.

The audit was used as basis for a detailed in-house review and update, in which participants included Enforcement Services, Fire Services and Infrastructure Services.

The draft amendment document was also provided to Morinville’s builders and developers, who had few concerns or comments.

Only one developer put forward a question about removing “zero lot line” and “secondary suite” from the definition section of the bylaw.

Administration responded that these definitions were now incorporated into other areas of the bylaw.

With the omnibus amendment having passed first reading, notices will now go out for a public hearing to be held together with a council meeting on Feb. 13, with second and third readings to follow.

Martin indicated that next will be a review of Morinville’s Direct Control Land Use Districts, with a view toward finding opportunities for clarification and simplification.

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