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Special council meeting for OCP pushed into May by Sidney

Despite delay, June remains target date completion, says town CAO
A special Sidney council meeting scheduled to deal with the official community plan won’t take place as originally scheduled on April 28. Unfinished work by the municipality’s OCP advisory committee has pushed the council meeting to May 5. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Town of Sidney chief administrative officer Randy Humble said the target date for completion of the municipality’s new official community plan (OCP) continues to be June 2022.

His comment followed a decision to reschedule a special council meeting from April 28 to May 5, because the municipality’s OCP advisory committee did not complete its April 21 meeting, which involved reviewing public feedback and recommending revisions to the draft plan. The committee is scheduled to meet again April 28.

“Council values public input and the committee’s recommendations and did not want to proceed until the committee had completed their work,” Humble said. “The timeline for the OCP will be extended accordingly, but the target date for final adoption continues to be June 2022.”

The public feedback period on the OCP review ended April 11 following six weeks of formal input.

A joint statement submitted by the board of the Sidney Community Association in early April describes the draft as well intentioned, but “unfortunately flawed” in a number of respects.

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“It contains a broad range of intentions and policies, but little in terms of a framework or direction as to how these will be implemented,” the association wrote. “The lack of clarity will be confusing for the public, developers, staff and (council).”

The community association noted the absence of detail around height and density as part of plans to encourage more residential density and commercial uses in selected areas of Sidney.

Humble at the time countered this criticism by saying the goal with the OCP is to provide high-level guidance on topics such as land use, in looking toward 2040.

“The plan is intended to strike a balance between providing a road map for the next 20 years and leaving room for community members and future councils to make more detailed decisions based on current needs and realities,” he said.

Humble pointed out in response to the specific concerns of the community association that Sidney’s zoning bylaw, not the OCP, address those aspects.

“While the draft OCP includes some building height restrictions in key areas such as downtown Sidney, the specific uses, building heights, setbacks, etc., for each (of the 11) land designation are addressed in the zoning bylaw,” he said. “This is usual local government procedure. The (municipality) plans to review the entire zoning bylaw after the updated OCP is approved.”

Sidney last updated its OCP spelling out future land use in 2007.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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