By Karen McColl
More than 30 individuals representing businesses, interest groups and their own personal interests attended the roundtable discussion on Parks, Recreation, Culture and Environment Wednesday afternoon at the Community Centre. This was the last of four focus group meetings held as part of the week-long charette planning process aimed at creating a Unified Development Bylaw.
Led by two PlaceMakers consultants and assisted by City Planner John Guenther, residents had the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns about land use decisions, zoning and regulations.
PlaceMakers use a “transect” model to classify all city areas into at least six categories on a scale ranging from naturally protected areas to completely urbanized areas that would be found in a downtown core. By categorizing different areas within cities this way, it is possible to create separate zoning regulations and bylaws that can benefit different needs.
This “form based zoning” template is more about “how it looks and feels,” than just looking at buildings and use, explains public relations consultant Ben Brown.
“This is a way to put planning on a fast track,” he said of the charette process.
“We’ll go from no bylaw to bylaw in a matter of months instead of years.”
PlaceMakers left the floor open to the attendees to bring up their comments and concerns. Discussions about trail accessibility within Revelstoke, protection of natural areas, relative accessibility of city parks, urban chicken farming, riparian (riverbank) protection and cultural requirements for new development ensued during the short hour and a half meeting.
A benchmark recommending that residents have access to a park within a 250 metre radius or a four minute walk from their residence created some discussion, as did a conversation about chicken farming. Ideas were shared about how other communities have worked to mitigate the potential bear problems involved with urban farming.
Public input from this roundtable and the three others held on Tuesday and Wednesday on economic development / business groups, public participation master plan, and social, affordable housing, safety will be compiled and presented by PlaceMakers during an open house Thursday at 7 p.m. By presenting a summary of the week’s input and then receiving feedback, PlaceMakers hope to create an accurate representation of the goals and vision of the residents of Revelstoke.
A closing presentation with public comment will be held Friday at 3:30 p.m.
All this is working towards developing a Unified Development Bylaw that will be drafted in cooperation with the City shortly after the community input process has been completed. The consultants will also be taking the Official Community Plan into consideration.
Visit the UDB website at http://www.revelstokeudb.com.