Staff set to launch Nelson’s new OCP

Nelson’s 2013 update to its official community plan is nearly complete.

OCP work is almost done

OCP work is almost done

Nelson’s 2013 update to its official community plan is nearly complete.

The plan, last revised in 2008, is the long-term guiding document for land use and development in the municipality. City staff have been working on an update for the past year.

Nelson development manager David Wahn attended a recent city council meeting to provide an update on the plan’s progress.

“We’ve effectively rewritten the whole document,” Wahn said, explaining there was substantial reorganization need to group together information that was previously scattered throughout the 100-page file.

“The new formatting makes it more accessible, engaging and readable for the public,” Wahn said.

Additionally, the update recognizes new planning initiatives undertaken by the city since 2008, including targets for green house gas reductions, the affordable housing strategy and active transportation plan, among others.

“The OCP takes the lofty goals outlined in those planning documents and drills them down to actions we can take on the ground,” Wahn said, citing for example that the plan encourages higher building density by promoting development on sub-standard lots within city limits, rather than pushing back city limits to bring in new land.

“Allowing denser land use, automatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while expanding city budgets, which are both council goals,” Wahn said.

The updated OCP will also introduce new regulations around private docks. The existing plan does not discuss docks, as they are not considered a permitted land use within city boundaries. The update permits docks in designated areas previously determined by the Sustainable Waterfront and Downtown Master Plan.

“There are suggestions for how the dock should be designed and the number of docks that should be permitted,” Wahn said.

The Local Government Act encourages municipalities to update their official community plan every five to 10 years.

A draft of the updated community plan was presented to council about a year ago. Since then it has been going through various levels of community consultation.

The next time the plan returns to council, likely sometime this spring, it will be for initial readings and adoption of the bylaw accept the 2013 update.