June 16th, 2024

City preparing for major overhaul of land use bylaw

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on November 23, 2022.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Construction work on a home is seen Wednesday on the city's westside. A nearly $1.2 million review of the Lethbridge land use bylaw, which dates back to 1986, will proceed if city council approves the 2023-26 budget on Nov. 29.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The City of Lethbridge could soon be spending more than $1 million on a comprehensive review of its land use bylaw.

If city council approves the 2023-26 budget at its Nov. 29 council meeting – which it is expected to do – then a three-year initiative will begin in 2023.

The initiative calls for the hiring of 1.5 non-permanent staff for three years.

Estimated cost for the initiative is $1,165,000 but during budget deliberations city council, acting as Economic Standing Policy Committee, heard the price could be higher.

Maureen Gaehring, general manager of Planning and Design, Infrastructure Services told The Herald

“there have been recent updates to the LUB that received new bylaw numbers. The new numbers were necessary due to the type of formatting, numbering, housekeeping and rules that were needed.

But the framework of how the land use bylaw is structured and the premise upon which it based haven’t been looked at since LUB 4100 was adopted back in 1986.

“Because of the nature, it was easier to give the bylaws a new number than to say we were amending the old bylaw. So really our land use bylaw today, 6300, is still structured on the original land use bylaw 4100,” said Gaehring.

The rewrite will look at every element of the bylaw including land use definitions, districts, the rules within them and “we suspect many changes will be made which is why the project is structured over three years and requires the resources that have been approved,” said Gaehring.

“There is a three-part sort of involvement. One is hiring a term position who will run this project and is more of a subject matter expert in land use and working with regulations. We have an extensive public engagement that we’re going to need, too, and we’re going to need to hire a consultant to help us through that, just because we’re almost starting from scratch.

“So this is really not going with the restructuring of what we are working with with 4100. This is brand new. Because we’re changing so much of it, we need to really engage with all the community. When we do amendments usually there’s targeted engagements to stakeholders, like for a particular district or if we’re dealing with a particular thing. Maybe we’ll talk to home builders, that sort of a thing. But this is the whole bylaw, so this is the whole community because it affects everybody’s property,” added the GM.

The third part is legal consulting work, she said.

“Every year there is case law that occurs in Alberta and there are new standards set, new interpretations of things. So we really need to take that lens as well when we’re working with a total rewrite and understand from a legal point of view” if the bylaw is still defensible, she said.

“It’s a big number definitely but it’s because it is so complicated and there are three separate things happening with it,” Gaehring added.

The land use bylaw regulates the City’s ability to develop and build on private property.

“Existing property owners, new owners and those who wish to redevelop or change what is built on a property are all affected when changes to the LUB are contemplated.

“The LUB is also a tool to implement the vision, goals and policies of the Municipal Development Plan and neighbourhood area redevelopment plans. When changing regulations, we need to consider the alignment with approved plans and the impacts of existing properties, new developments and any unintended consequences that may occur as a result,” Gaehring added.

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Citi Zen

Surely there are enough bureaucrats in City Hall along with all of their support staff to handle this without spending $1.2M of taxpayer dollars. And no one ever enforces land use bylaws anyway….
What a joke!