As old as the loonie—Pelham regulations date back to 1987

After 34 years, it’s time for some essential Pelham documents to get a facelift. The Town is reviewing its Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw No. 1136, which dates back to 1987.

“There have been some fundamental shifts in the focus of the provincial, regional, and local policy framework since the original zoning bylaw,” said Director of Community Planning and Development Barb Wiens in a press statement.

Pelham CAO David Cribbs referred to the review as a critical project with an ambitious timeline (presentation to council planned for November 2021, with completion by year’s end). He said that the efforts currently being undertaken in the Town’s planning department incorporate some of the work initiated four years ago by the last council.

“Zoning bylaws are one of two absolutely critical tools that address how land is used in Pelham,” said Cribbs. “Whereas the Official Plan is a somewhat abstract theoretical roadmap for growth, the zoning bylaw specifically says what can happen where. It will affect agricultural lands, secondary dwelling units, cannabis facility locations, maximum building heights, density and property line setbacks, woodlots, and all sorts of other things that matter to residents and impact their quality of life.”

Zoning bylaws are one of two absolutely critical tools that address how land is used in Pelham

Cribbs stressed that it doesn’t matter whether residents are rich or poor, young or old, renters or multiple property owners.

“If you live in Pelham, you should comment and participate in this consultation process, because the finished product is going to impact your life for years to come.”

Policy Planner Tara Lynn O’Toole told the Voice that the zoning bylaw review and update will reflect current development requirements, and will “bring the document into conformity with our Official Plan and provincial policy.”

She encouraged citizens to visit the “Engaging Pelham” website and submit comments, and also to participate in the live Q&A session she will host, called “Tuesdays with Tara.” One-to-one conversations can be scheduled via telephone or Zoom session by contacting O’Toole at 905-892-2607 x335.

The current schedule for discussion of zoning topics is as follows:

March 15-19 general provisions; March 22-April 2 rural/agricultural zones; April 5-16 residential zones and greenfield development; April 19-30 commercial zones; May 3-7 definitions; May 10-14 review of feedback received.

The process will involve two rounds of consultation, with revisions based on feedback from the community, various agencies, and Town Council incorporated into the final document to be presented to council for ratification.

The zoning bylaw is legally enforceable, and those not in compliance will require an amendment or variance. The Town assert that the new document will be prepared so that it is easy to understand and applicable to wide range of end-users, including builders, developers, realtors, farmers, lawyers, land surveyors, and everyday residents.