The lands that 3L owned before adoption of the current OCP in 2014, are designated under the former OCP bylaw 2042 as “Rural Area”.
Excerpt from Rural Comox Valley OCP Bylaw No. 2042, 1998:
C.1 Rural Area Objectives
- C.1(a) To encourage land use patterns which minimize urban sprawl.
- C.1(b) To ensure that development is serviced to an appropriate and adequate rural standard.
- C.1(c) To support land use proposals that minimize potential negative impacts on the natural environment and the productive potential of resource lands.
- C.1(d) To support the provision of affordable housing appropriate to its rural setting.
C.2 Rural Area Policies
- C.2(a) Lands designated as Rural Area are shown on Schedule B.
- C.2(b) Uses permitted on lands designated Rural Area are shown on Table 1.
- C.2(c) Where community water systems and/or community sewer systems are not available, lands in the Rural Areas shall only be subdivided in accordance with the regulations of the authority having jurisdiction for septic system and well approvals and in accordance with the minimum and average lot sizes provided in the applicable zoning bylaw.
- C.2(d) The strata conversion of secondary suites, carriage houses and secondary dwellings shall not be supported.
- C.2(e) The strata conversion of second dwellings shall only be supported where the minimum lot size requirement is achieved.”
- C.2(f) Despite any other provision of this bylaw, density averaging, density bonusing and density transfer do not apply to the subdivision of lots within areas designated as “settlement expansion areas” under “Comox Valley Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw No. 120, 2010. Density averaging, density bonusing or density transfer may be used to secure community benefits such as the preservation of rural lands, open space, sensitive habitats, and working woodlots.
- C.2(g) Settlement adjacent to ALR lands shall provide buffering and appropriate and adequate servicing to reduce potential negative impacts on farm land.
C.2(h) The annexation of land in the Plan area into the municipalities of Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland by means of boundary expansions may be supported where such urban expansion occurs within mutually determined containment boundaries or because of verified public health and safety issues. Phasing of such boundary expansions, based upon projected five to 10 year land requirements, shall be encouraged as a means of lessening the impact on rural residents.
OCP Bylaw No. 2042, 1998
OCP Schedule C Bylaw No. 2042, 1998
The majority of the lands are zoned Rural – Twenty (RU-20). The following land uses are permitted:
- on any lot:
- agricultural use
- fish hatcheries
- residential use
- garden nurseries
- vet clinics
- on any lot 2.0 hectares or larger:
- animal kennels
- riding academy
- on any lot 4.0 hectares or larger:
- wood processing;
- gravel, mineral or peat extraction, gravel crushing and screening but no manufacturing or sales of concrete or concrete products.
- On any lot 4.0 hectares or larger AND which is classified as private managed forest land or farm (classified by BC Assessment Act) or is within a licensed area under the Forest Act:
- Research and teaching facility;
- Rural resource centre (maximum floor area 300m2)
The minimum parcel size for subdivision is 20 hectares (50 acres).
One portion of the lands (adjacent to Crown land) is zoned Upland Resource 40 hectares (UR-40).
Opportunities for the CVRD to acquire land park or conservation purposes through the land use planning process arise at the time of rezoning (i.e. voluntary community amenity contribution by a developer) and/or subdivision (requirement of the Local Government Act to dedicate lands or cash in an amount up to 5% of the market value of the lands proposed for subdivision). The CVRD can also approach land owners to negotiate purchase of lands independent of a land use application.
In certain limited circumstances, the Province can request that land be “returned to Crown” at the time of subdivision or development permit.
Yes, in 2014, three years after the adoption of the RGS, 3L Developments Inc. made an application to rezone the lands that they held at that time to a zone that would allow subdivision of 10 acre parcels. Before the CVRD board had a chance to consider their application, however, 3L Developments Inc. withdrew their application and advised that they would instead pursue their 2013 RGS amendment application.
In 2013, 3L Developments Inc. submitted a letter to the CVRD requesting a minor amendment to the RGS as provided for in section 5.2 of the RGS: 3L provided their Riverwood concept and referenced a 750 lot subdivision. In May 2018, 3L submitted a revised concept showing 1100 residential lots and requested CVRD staff to process their application.
Yes, in 2013, 3L offered the CVRD the opportunity to purchase 80 hectares of land for a purchase price of $9 million dollars and approval of their proposal to construct Riverwood. The CVRD Board received 3L’s conditional offer of sale proposal, but had to decline. The following rationale was provided to 3L:
"Although 3L’s conditional offer of parkland in exchange for development approvals has the benefit of securing public access to the Stotan Falls area, the proposal is not consistent with the sustainability principles and overall direction in our provincially mandated regional growth strategy (RGS). The directors do not support the intensive urban residential development that 3L is proposing and are concerned about the impacts that such a development would have on the surrounding resource lands and agricultural areas. During the consultation process for the regional growth strategy, the public was also clear that it did not support intensive urban residential development in that area. The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) does not have a regional park service and does not have the funds to purchase the proposed approximately 81 hectares. As a result of all the above, the board is unable to accept your conditional offer. " (excerpt from March 27, 2013 letter from the CVRD Board Chair to Mr. David Dutcyvitch).
No. First, “agreements” to rezone land cannot be made by staff or the CVRD Board. The courts have held that an “agreement” to rezone land is unlawful as it would have the effect of fettering the legislative discretion of the CVRD Board. Decisions on rezoning applications are to be made by the CVRD Board on the basis of what it believes to be in the public interest. In order for the Board to make a decision on a site specific proposal to rezone land, an application for rezoning needs to be made. 3L Developments Inc. did not make an application to rezone land prior to the adoption of the RGS. It is common for development proponents to understand that in order to change the zoning of their lands, they must make an application to have the CVRD Board consider rezoning through a public process.
3L took the CVRD to court for not considering their application for a minor amendment to the RGS in accordance with the procedure described in section 5.2 of the RGS bylaw. On appeal, the the BC Court of Appeal upheld the order of the BC Supreme Court that the CVRD consider 3L Developments Inc.’s minor amendment application in accordance with the procedure described in section 5.2.
No. The Court said that the CVRD had to follow the process in section 5.2 of the RGS to consider if the proposed amendment was a minor amendment and then to make a decision on whether to “initiate” an amendment and to make a decision on what type of review process the CVRD Board should undertake if it initiated the amendment. The Court did not assess the merits of the 3L application nor did the Court order that the CVRD consider the merits of the application. “Initiation” of an amendment is the first step in the Board’s decision making process. By “initiating” an amendment, the Board directed staff to review the proposal and come back to the Board with a recommendation on further steps.
The Board has adopted a consultation plan. The plan includes two public open houses and makes provision for a public hearing in the event that the Board directs staff to prepare an amendment bylaw. The first open house was held on September 6, 2018 (Summary of Open House). Members of the public are encouraged to submit written comments so that the Board can consider public input in their decision-making. Written comments can be sent to Planning & Development Services.
- On July 24, 2018, the CVRD initiated an amendment to the RGS in order to consider 3L’s application. The Board did not agree with 3L that the proposal to create a new settlement node met the “minor amendment” process criteria set out in section 5.2 of the RGS. Instead, the Board determined that the proposal should be reviewed as a standard amendment. The standard amendment process involved more consultation with stakeholders.
- On August 14, 2018, the Board adopted a consultation plan that sets out how and with whom it will consult.
- The TAC recommended to the Steering Committee denial of the application based on the foundational principle that a new settlement node is not needed at this time relative to housing unit supply, population projections and demographic trends in the Comox Valley. The Steering Committee agreed with the TAC recommendation and provided this recommendation to the CVRD board on October 2 for final decision.
- On Tuesday, October 2, 2018 the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) Board denied 3L Developments Inc. application for a new settlement node in Electoral Area C of the region.
- The CVRD board is under no obligation to continue processing 3L’s application relative to the Local Government Act (RSBC, 2015, c. 1) (LGA), BC Court of Appeal decision, or the Board’s Consultation Plan. All process requirements have been met.
- For more information view news release.