Venables Public Hearing

Venables Public Hearing

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Despite opposition from the rural director, a land use amendment application in Area C is clearing the required hurdles.
The majority of the 13 people who attended a recent public hearing were in favour of an application from G and L Venables to amend the Official Community Plan (OCP) and facilitate a boundary adjustment.
The applicants seek to subdivide their property on 123rd Street in order to create a one-hectare parcel and consolidate the remainder with a neighbouring parcel owned by Hester Creek Winery.
The subject property (5.5 hectares in size) is within the Agricultural Land Reserve and planted with grapes. It also contains one single family home.
Area C director Allan Patton said his understanding is the Venables want to subdivide the house and one hectare from the farming portion of the property (approximately 4.4 hectares). This farming portion is to be amalgamated with the Hester Creek property to the west.
The Agricultural Land Commission recently reviewed the application and approved the request.
Area C’s Advisory Planning Commission also approved the application by a vote of 6-1.
“My reasoning for voting against was that we are moving from a family farm property that is a viable farm unit to a ‘small holding’ residence,” Patton said.
The director said the farming portion is to be amalgamated to an already large viable farm unit. “The residence, now separate from agriculture, could become a source of conflict with the surrounding farm properties and their activities.”
Patton said the larger farm property to the west becomes even larger, which in effect reduces the ability for the existence of family farms and encourages the existence of corporate farms.
Patton acknowledged there is no loss of agricultural land and no increase in principal or secondary dwellings with this application. But he said the creation of a residential property in a farming area remains problematic, reflected by being contrary to the Official Community Plan.
Regional district planner Evelyn Riechert said people should be aware that this proposal would create a residential sized parcel within an agricultural zoned area and within an active and productive farming area.
“Administration does not generally support the fragmentation of viable farmland nor the creation of ‘spot’ residential parcels within active farming areas,” Riechert said.
She noted a parcel such as this one may seem harmless, but incrementally these types of parcels could erode the area’s existing rural and agricultural character. However, it is recognized that the remainder of the subject parcel is to be consolidated with an adjacent parcel, thereby creating a larger and more efficient use of agricultural land, Riechert said.
The Venables application now awaits third reading and adoption.

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