Trust legal staff upholds single-step process for Potlatch application

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, July 26 2016

According to legal advice requested by the Gabriola Local Trust Committee, the LTC is not legally required to undertake a two-step rezoning process for the proposed Potlatch density transfer proposal.

At a special LTC meeting held this past Thursday, the Trustees reported on a discussion held in camera around the legal advice provided to them by Islands Trust solicitor Bill Buholzer who wrote the publication, British Columbia Planning Law and Practice, which is the acknowledged authority on interpreting and using the BC Local Government Act.

Buholzer’s opinion was requested and received on the interpretation and application of density transfer policies in the Gabriola Island Official Community Plan in relation to the Potlatch proposal.  

According to Buholzer’s report, the Local Trust Committee may consider density transfer proposals that do not fit the literal scope of the density transfer policies set out in the Official Community Plan as regards the current zoning of the receiver site (in this case, Forestry rather than Resource).

With respect to density calculations, it is feasible to apply Resource zoning to the entire receiving site, despite that some of it is currently in the Forestry zone, to illustrate that the proposed density of 25 lots on the receiving lands meets the intent of the Official Community Plan density transfer policies.

Generally speaking, density transfers under Part 14 of the Local Government Act involve concurrent rezoning of donor and receiver sites in the manner reflected in proposed Bylaws 289 and 290, and there is no legal need to undertake a two-step rezoning process.

No further comment was made by the Trustees after they reported on Buholzer’s report.