Electoral Area E OCP Review

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The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is reviewing and updating the Electoral Area E Official Community Plan (OCP). The OCP guides how your community grows and changes over the next 20-25 years.





What’s new?

See the latest updates on the OCP here:


Meeting Recordings


Survey Results


Information


What is an Official Community Plan?

An official community plan (OCP) provides guidance and policies on a broad range of topics including land‐use, transportation, housing, parks, and infrastructure. OCPs also designate land for specific purposes like commercial office, retail, residential, park, and industrial uses.

Collectively, the policies and land use map are used by the Regional Board, Regional District staff, other agencies, and the community to guide decisions about future investment in your community.

OCPs are developed through public consultation and professional planning practices. Once drafted, an OCP must be adopted by the Regional District Board as an official bylaw.


Background

The existing OCP was first adopted in 2006 and readopted in 2008. The last OCP review started this time 17 years ago!

Electoral Area E consists of Naramata Village and the surrounding rural area along the benches. Most of Area E beyond the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) is Crown Land and Parks.

Electoral Area E


OCP Project Timeline

Work on the Area E OCP began in the fall and will continue throughout 2022. The final OCP Bylaw is expected to be complete by the end of 2022.


The OCP will take place in four phases. We are currently in Phase 3.

  • Phase 1 – Inventory
  • Phase 2 – Analysis
  • Phase 3 – Synthesis
  • Phase 4 – Policy

Your input will be important in the first three stages of the process to get the best policy document for the formal adoption process.


Here are some ways you and your neighbours can participate:

Phase 1:

  • Ask a question Online – OPEN NOW (see below)
  • Survey Round 1 – Complete

Phase 2:

  • Survey Round 2 – Complete
  • Public Information Meeting #1 – Survey 2 Results – Complete
  • Survey Round 3 – Complete
  • Open House #1 – Complete
  • Open House #2 – Complete

Phase 3:

  • Open House #3 – Draft Policy Changes – Late summer/early fall 2022
  • Survey on Draft Policy Changes – Late summer/early fall 2022

Phase 4:

  • Public Information Meeting – Proposed OCP – Fall 2022
  • Public Hearing – Proposed OCP – Winter 2022/2023

NOTE: Due to provincial health concerns, in-person meetings and events will be scheduled in accordance with current guidelines.


Get Involved!

The Regional District wants to hear from you. Participate using the tools below. Check back often for updates and new activities. Sign up to get project alerts and updates by using the "Stay Informed" box on the right hand panel.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is reviewing and updating the Electoral Area E Official Community Plan (OCP). The OCP guides how your community grows and changes over the next 20-25 years.





What’s new?

See the latest updates on the OCP here:


Meeting Recordings


Survey Results


Information


What is an Official Community Plan?

An official community plan (OCP) provides guidance and policies on a broad range of topics including land‐use, transportation, housing, parks, and infrastructure. OCPs also designate land for specific purposes like commercial office, retail, residential, park, and industrial uses.

Collectively, the policies and land use map are used by the Regional Board, Regional District staff, other agencies, and the community to guide decisions about future investment in your community.

OCPs are developed through public consultation and professional planning practices. Once drafted, an OCP must be adopted by the Regional District Board as an official bylaw.


Background

The existing OCP was first adopted in 2006 and readopted in 2008. The last OCP review started this time 17 years ago!

Electoral Area E consists of Naramata Village and the surrounding rural area along the benches. Most of Area E beyond the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) is Crown Land and Parks.

Electoral Area E


OCP Project Timeline

Work on the Area E OCP began in the fall and will continue throughout 2022. The final OCP Bylaw is expected to be complete by the end of 2022.


The OCP will take place in four phases. We are currently in Phase 3.

  • Phase 1 – Inventory
  • Phase 2 – Analysis
  • Phase 3 – Synthesis
  • Phase 4 – Policy

Your input will be important in the first three stages of the process to get the best policy document for the formal adoption process.


Here are some ways you and your neighbours can participate:

Phase 1:

  • Ask a question Online – OPEN NOW (see below)
  • Survey Round 1 – Complete

Phase 2:

  • Survey Round 2 – Complete
  • Public Information Meeting #1 – Survey 2 Results – Complete
  • Survey Round 3 – Complete
  • Open House #1 – Complete
  • Open House #2 – Complete

Phase 3:

  • Open House #3 – Draft Policy Changes – Late summer/early fall 2022
  • Survey on Draft Policy Changes – Late summer/early fall 2022

Phase 4:

  • Public Information Meeting – Proposed OCP – Fall 2022
  • Public Hearing – Proposed OCP – Winter 2022/2023

NOTE: Due to provincial health concerns, in-person meetings and events will be scheduled in accordance with current guidelines.


Get Involved!

The Regional District wants to hear from you. Participate using the tools below. Check back often for updates and new activities. Sign up to get project alerts and updates by using the "Stay Informed" box on the right hand panel.

Ask your questions

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    "Despite this, subdivisions in Electoral Area E are approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI). The RDOS planning documents can help guide their decisions, but ultimately the Approving Officer at MoTI determines what subdivisions will be registered in the area."  Response by the RDOS to a previous question in this forum My question: Are there any ongoing discussions in the RDOS Planning Dept regarding ways to correct the ridiculous situation described above? In my opinion, the fundamental problem with the governance and decision-making process in Naramata is the lack of accountability that decision-makers have to the residents. First, the process of making regional decisions that are specifically applicable to Naramata is fine, for regional decisions. However, the structure of the RDOS Board means essentially that a majority of board members determine whether or not an initiative presented by our (one) elected representative, even though we as electors have no say in voting for any of the board members other than our own. Our representative is one voice amongst many. Second, as long as Naramata continues to be a rural area, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) will have the sole and unfettered power to approve or deny subdivision applications in our area, all without any input or oversight from locals. If rumours can be believed, not even the RDOS Directors have any meaningful access to the MoTI planning process, and to my knowledge do not even sit at the table when subdivisions are being discussed and infrastructure planning is being formalized into policy and then into boots on the ground. (I would love to be proven wrong on this one, believe me!) Above all, community development or preservation is not even a line item for the MoTI, and why should it be? With little expertise in community planning or any accountability to the electors (unless perhaps through our MLA via influence on the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure in Victoria which is tenuous at best). MoTI is not even remotely equipped to do anything other than deal with subdivisions on a technical basis: whether or not suitable roadways exist to service newly-approved population density. And, theoretically, how to handle drainage issues that either currently exist or will be important after wholesale habitat destruction. We have had some rather unfortunate experiences with that level of expertise when it comes to previous developments along the Arawana corridor. Back in the bad old days of the Blackwell débacle, after the dust settled a pair of concerned and knowledgeable local citizens prepared a comprehensive analysis of governance options for Naramata moving forward. The thumbnail summary of that study was that taking control of local governance through any of the common options available under the Municipal Act at the time would have been prohibitively expensive for a spread-out farming area with only an agricultural tax base. The financial burden on the local orchardists at that time -- long before the phenomenal rise of the wine manufacturing industry here -- to maintain roads and related infrastructure would have been too great. However, given the massive increase in both the residential tax base from the construction of expensive luxury homes and the rise of the wine industry, it may be time to revisit that study to determine if Naramata could achieve some more beneficial control over local decision-making and, therefore, more of an ability to determine the shape and ambience of our future community. Certainly that is what a community plan ought to be about. a beautiful and inclusive planning document will be useless without some effective means of implementation. - - - PS The original governance report may be in one of the three boxes of Blackwell-era documents currently in the possession of the RDOS and still awaiting delivery to the Naramata Museum. This will be done after being copied/digitized for the RDOS' records, at least according to an informal spokesperson for the Museum. Let’s hope the final scene from the original "Raiders of the Lost Ark" isn’t applicable . . . where the Ark is being carried off on a forklift into a monstrously huge and inaccessible storage facility . . .

    doug mathias asked about 2 months ago

    This is generally a correct statement on the current governance structure of the RDOS. Rural areas are partially in the jurisdiction of the Regional District and partially the Province. This does make for some more complicated decision making than a municipality. 

    The community does have the option to incorporate and become a separate municipality. However, this is a long process and must be done outside of the OCP.

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    How does the current clear cutting of the hills above Naramata Village fit into the Community Plan and the environmental aspects of the plan?

    Jacob asked about 2 months ago

    The clear cutting mentioned falls into an Environmentally Sensitive Development Permit (ESDP) area. This is a tool designed to help protect the environment that is defined in the OCP. However, the controls attached to this tool are limited. 

    In this case, a Professional Biologist did sign off on the majority of the site being cleared. The developer did clear more than was permitted and will be required to complete some replanting. 

    The RDOS Board has directed that ESDPs be reviewed and Staff are working with the Province to review the tool and make the controls stronger.

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    Given that most of Area E beyond the KVR trail and Crown land and Park land, how is it that there are ongoing housing projects, stripping away every tree, causing flooding, etc. Who gives authority for these projects? Thank you.

    Velma asked 2 months ago

    There are a few privately-held properties above the KVR. Most of these are concentrated near the Naramata Benchlands and Kettle Ridge subdivisions along Debeck and Arawana. 

    These subdivisions date back to a study done in 1981 and have had supportive OCP designations and Zoning in place to support the subdivision. This is one of the many reasons why advanced planning, like this OCP review, is important, since plans can be actioned over 40 years later.

    The rest of the privately held land above the KVR is designated Large Holdings or Resource Area and would not be supportive of smaller parcel sizes for residential development. The large remainder of the land is all Crown Land.

    Despite this, subdivisions in Electoral Area E are approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI). The RDOS planning documents can help guide their decisions, but ultimately the Approving Officer at MoTI determines what subdivisions will be registered in the area.

    Regarding the tree cutting, the property at the top of Arawana Road that you are referring to is subject to an Environmentally Sensitive Development Permit (ESDP) area. They did get a permit for the clear cutting, which was signed off by a Registered Professional Biologist (RPBio). This means that the RPBio went to the site, observed the environmental values, and stated that in their professional opinion the clear cutting could be permitted. My understanding is that there will be a replanting plan coming forward once the leveling for roadways and lots has been completed.

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    Should I complete the survey if I'm not living in area E but close to it?

    WimLaven asked 3 months ago

    Anyone with interest in Area E, such as living nearby, may participate in the survey. The survey is now closed, however there will be more community engagement further into the process. You are welcome to send any questions or comments here or to the project team. 

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    When will we see better sidewalks and street lighting for safety and mobility?

    Mike McConnell asked 6 months ago

    Sidewalks and streetlighting are related to infrastructure policies in the OCP. We're at the point in the process where we're trying to understand how much of the community wants improved infrastructure v. how much of the community does not want the kinds of infrastructure that may make Naramata feel more urban. 

    Streetlights are the responsibility of the RDOS within the Naramata Street Lighting Service Area and are installed and operated by Fortis BC. The OCP does define the future goals for how many and where future street lighting would go.

    Sidewalks and all related road infrastructure are the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The OCP can only make recommendations to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for future improvements to the area.

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    Why can’t people who live full time in their Naramata home rent out a room or a basement suite short term without worrying about providing a breakfast or whether there are cooking facilities. Making short term rentals easier for residents could provide well needed places for visitors to stay without disrupting residential neighbourhoods. Rentals where home owners live in the home and are present is a good option.

    Patti Lacis asked 5 months ago

    Currently the zoning bylaw defines bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals separately. Anything that does not meet the definition of bed and breakfast (i.e. in the principle dwelling unit and providing breakfast) would have to go through a vacation rental temporary use permit (TUP) process. This is something that a vacation rental review could change with an ammendmend to the applicable OCP and zoning bylaws, at the discretion of the Regional District Board.

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    Many people have concerns over the increase and the rules around Short term rentals. Why hasn’t there been a pause on further approvals while the matter is thoroughly considered

    Patti Lacis asked 5 months ago

    Vacation/short term rentals are a big concern in the community and one of the many topics being discussed throughout this OCP process.

    Changes to the policy that are specific to the community can be made through this OCP Review. For example, it the community recomended that vacation rentals were acceptable on larger properties, but not in the village on small properties where noise may be more of a problem.

    Changing the overall approach to vacation/short term rentals requires a region-wide review, since it affects other electoral areas in addition to Electoral Area "E". This must be prioritized and budgeted for by the Regional District Board.

    The RDOS Board cannot stop property owners from applying for a vacation rental if this is something that interests the ower. However, the RDOS Board could determine to refuse/deny applicaitons until a review has been completed. Again, this must be determined by the Regional District Board.

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    Hi -i is the meeting on the 29th being recorded?

    csutton asked 5 months ago

    Yes, all public meetings are being recorded and realeased on YouTube. The links will be available here on RDOS Regional Connections page.

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    With respect, Under the current regulations currently any persons buying a property on the Naramata bench with a house one one side and a vineyard on the other could end up with a DE-FACTO HOTEL on one side and a winery/bar on the other. How does the RDOS plan to address this potentiality? And, also what plans are in place for the increased traffic, road damage, signs, intoxicated patrons, tour buses, Etc?

    Mike asked 6 months ago

    Agri-tourism accomodation and wineries are allowed in the agriculture zones provided that they are in compliance with the RDOS zoning requirements and the Agricultural Land Commisions' requirements that aim to protect farm land. Typically, the size of argricultural lots in Naramata limits such accomodations to 0-5 units of up to 30 m² each. New home owners are encouraged to read current planning documents and reach out to RDOS staff prior to purchasing property to determine zoning in their area if these uses are a concern.

    Naramata Road is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. There are certainly concerns with the level of traffic and unsafe conditions (i.e. speeds, cyclists and pedestrians on the shoulder, and intoxicaiton) along the road in the summer. The OCP can and will recommend improvements to Naramata Road; however, it is at the discretion of the Ministry to determine, if, how, and when such improvements will be done.

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    I would like a ban on vacation and short term rentals. Can you tell me what are the plans for these in the future? We need accommodation for families and working people in Naramata.

    Mike McConnell asked 6 months ago

    Vacation rentals are one of the many issues being addressed throughout the OCP process. Some people in the community want a total ban and some want complete freedom to operate them however they like. There are many with opinions in the middle favoring controls. 

    This will be one of the topics discussed throughout the process to determine what policies regarding vacation rentals will go into your community's OCP. 

    While vacation rentals and full time accommodation are linked. Banning one does not necessarily lead to the other. Many of the vacation rental properties in the area are owned by people who use it themselves for vacation purposes in the summer, so these homes will never be rented year-round. Others have had problems with past renters under the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) and would rather leave the home vacant than rent under the RTA. 

    Improving accommodation availability for families and working people in Naramata will be more complex than simply banning vacation rentals.