Skating Plaza Being Built in Downtown Ponoka
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Town of Ponoka Introduces New Temporary Restrictions at Town Facilities Due to COVID-19
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Busy Construction Season is Wrapping Up in Ponoka
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A Message from the Mayor about COVID-19
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Welcome to the Land Use Bylaw Review Online Open House!
The Town of Ponoka has started a process to review our Land Use Bylaw (LUB). The current LUB was created in 1997, though some changes have been made to the LUB over the years, much has changed in the community over the past 23 years.
The LUB review is intended to evaluate the current regulations and determine what is working as intended, and what areas need to be adjusted and updated to reflect current development trends.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation an electronic open house is being undertaken in lieu of a traditional in-person open house. This page will be used to host our electronic open house, where you can find:
- Summaries of the proposed changes presented by section (Administrative parts, General Regulations, and Land Use Districts),
- Full comparison documents presented to the Steering Committee showing the current Land Use Bylaw regulations and all of the proposed text changes, and
- Opportunities to submit your comments on the proposed changes.
If you would like more information about the Land Use Bylaw Review, to ask questions or discuss any of the proposed changes please contact:
Natasha Wright, Planner, Parkland Community Planning Services
Who is Leading the Review and What is the Process?
Ponoka Town Council is the Steering Committee for the review and is being assisted by Town Planning staff and Parkland Community Planning Services. As the steering committee for the process, Council reviews materials and provides direction throughout the process. This includes seeking public input on proposed changes and ideas.
Town Council began reviewing each section of the Land Use Bylaw in the fall of 2019. Council reviewed the existing regulations and the proposed changes intended to update the Land Use Bylaw and to address new development trends. Council is now seeking comments and feedback from the public on the proposed changes.
How can you be involved?
The Town of Ponoka is seeking your input on the proposed changes to the Land Use Bylaw. Comments and feedback can be submitted in the following ways:
- By submitting comments through the survey functions within each of the sections below, or
- By contacting Natasha Wright, Planner, Parkland Community Planning Services, at
Mail: Unit B 4730 Ross Street, Red Deer AB, T4N 1X2
We are requesting that you submit your comments by November 12. All comments and feedback that are received will be summarized and reviewed by the Steering Committee to determine if any changes to the draft material are needed.
What is the Land Use Bylaw?
The Land Use Bylaw (LUB) regulates and controls the use and development of land and buildings in the Town of Ponoka. It establishes land use districts that are assigned to various properties and identifies the allowable uses for the lands and their development standards. This ensures a level of certainty in regards to landowners’ rights to develop their lands, as well for adjacent landowners to know what could be developed on neighbouring lands.
Within the land use districts, the allowable uses are divided between Permitted Uses and Discretionary Uses. Permitted Uses are those uses that we are most comfortable with, and if an application meets all of the requirements of the LUB a development permit approval is guaranteed. Discretionary Uses are those uses that require more scrutiny when an application is made. The Development Authority has the discretion to approve or refuse an application, which means that even if an application meets all the applicable regulations it can still be refused.
In addition to outlining the allowable uses and development regulations for each land use district, the LUB also outlines the requirements for development permit applications and their processing, enforcement of the LUB, amending the land use bylaw, and establishing regulations for uses that appear across multiple land use districts.
What are the proposed changes?
The next three sections outline the proposed changes for each part of the Land Use Bylaw (LUB), with the LUB broken down into the Administrative sections, General Regulations, and Land Use Districts. Each section contains a high-level summary of the proposed changes for each part. If you would like to review the more detailed changes, the comparison tables that the Council reviewed as the Steering Committee are available here as well.
For the first two parts, the comparison tables show the existing Land Use Bylaw regulations on the left-hand side, and the proposed changes or new regulations on the right-hand side. Some of the section numbering and order has been changed for the existing regulations so that they will line up with the proposed new text.
For the last part, covering the land use districts, the proposed changes the Steering Committee reviewed are presented as a bold and strike document. Text that is in bold represents proposed changes; text that has been struck is proposed to be deleted. All other text is the existing text that will remain.
The Administrative Sections contain all of the regulations and text found in the first 26 sections of the existing Land Use Bylaw (LUB). These sections contain:
- Text to help interpret the LUB;
- Administrative definitions to help in interpreting the LUB;
- Who the Development Authority is and what powers they have;
- What a development permit application is and what it must contain;
- How development permits are processed, decided upon, conditions that can be attached and notifications;
- How the LUB can be amended; and
- Contravention and enforcement processes.
Much of the text being proposed within these sections is new, with the intent of providing more clarity and direction for users in the interpretation of the regulations. In addition, many of the sections have been reordered to allow for better flow and understanding of the text.
A summary of the proposed changes to the Administrative sections is listed below:
- More definitions of Administrative terms that are being used within the proposed text. This is to help in interpreting the sections and for better clarity throughout the document.
- The proposed text establishes the Development Officer as the Development Authority for the Town, exercising the development powers and duties that are outlined in the text, including receiving, processing, and deciding upon development permit applications.
- An expanded the list of developments that do not require a development permit, providing they meet the regulations of the Bylaw, by including: fire pits; solar collectors attached to a wall or roof; radio antenna or satellite dish; geothermal energy devices; uncovered decks, landings and patios under 0.6m in height; unenclosed steps or stairs; accessory buildings on a parcel with an approved or existing agricultural operation; and shipping containers within Industrial land use districts.
- A more detailed list of the information that is required as part of a development permit application, and additional information that may be required based upon the specific application. This additional information may be needed by the Development Officer in order to accurately review an application and make a decision.
- A new section to address Complete and Incomplete Development Permit Applications. This arose from the recent Municipal Government Act changes that require notification to an applicant deeming their application complete or incomplete, within 20 days of receipt. This process requires the Development Officer to specifically indicate the information that is required for an application to be deemed complete.
- More guidance for the Development Officer in determining when and who a development permit application should be circulated to before making a decision on the application.
- More guidance is also being proposed for the types of conditions that can be attached to a development permit when it is issued. This includes identifying the types of conditions that can be attached to a permit for a Permitted Use versus a Discretionary Use, and the relevance of the conditions to the proposed development or use. This also gives the Development Officer the ability to grant a temporary development permit for a Discretionary Use for up to one year.
- A more detailed guide on the process for development permit appeals, including who can appeal a development permit and the process for submitting an appeal.
- A new section dealing with the resubmission of a development permit application after refusal. This section states that the Development Officer cannot accept an application for the same or similar use on the same site within six months of a refusal.
- A new section that deals with subdivision applications and the timelines the Subdivision Authority has to determine the completeness of an application and to decide upon an application. This section is also a result of recent changes to the Municipal Government Act.
- The Land Use Bylaw Amendment section has been expanded to include more detail on what an amendment application to the Development Officer must include, as well as the process for the Development Officer to process the application and Council to make a decision.
- The Contravention section has been expanded to more clearly outline what constitutes a contravention of the Bylaw, and the options the development Officer has to remedy a contravention, such as suspending or revoking a development permit, issuing a Notice of Contravention, and finally issuing a Stop Order.
To see the full comparison document outlining the proposed Administrative Sections reviewed by the Steering Committee please, click the link below.
Draft Ponoka Land Use Bylaw - Administrative Sections
Please let us know your thoughts on the proposed changes to the Administrative Sections by filling in the comment form at the link below.
Give Us Your Input
General regulations refer to regulations and development standards that apply to uses and developments that may occur within multiple land use districts in the Town. These regulations cover topics such as accessory buildings, signs, home occupations or manufactured homes, to name a few.
The proposed text for this section has expanded greatly from the existing Land Use Bylaw, with the intent of providing more guidance by covering more uses and developments that have become more prominent since the existing Land Use Bylaw was adopted.
A summary of the proposed changes is listed below.
- More use definitions to aid in interpreting the regulations and understanding what developments they apply to.
- Accessory Building regulations were removed from the land use districts and placed in a stand alone section, as the regulations apply across the Town. The new section will also ensure that the same regulations, such as setback requirements, apply across the Town.
- New regulations for alternative energy devices, which includes solar energy, wind energy and geothermal energy devices. The regulations for these devices pertain to where they can be located on a lot, including setbacks and what they can be attached to, and the maximum allowable size of the devices.
- New building demolition application requirements, which include stating how it will be carried out to avoid nuisance and how the site will be reclaimed.
- Corner visibility regulations have been added to address visibility within certain areas at the intersections of streets and lanes for safety. This includes not placing anything over one metre in height within the specified area.
- Provisions for Dangerous Goods have been proposed, which includes limiting Dangerous Goods near residential areas and small quantity exemptions.
- Clarifying regulations for decks and other projections, such as balconies, windows, steps, chimneys, and eaves. For decks, the proposed changes include clarifying the maximum allowable projection into the minimum required yards for all decks, and when a deck is considered to be apart of the principal building.
- Provisions for driveways have been proposed to specify maximum allowable widths in residential areas, eight metres for single dwellings and ten metres for multiple dwellings, and all other districts, as well as the required surfacing and setback from lot lines that form intersections.
- Provisions are being proposed for infill development in established residential areas, which are intended to ensure that redevelopment is compatible with the existing development in the area. The provisions include, retaining mature vegetation, design of new duplexes, and sensitive massing of new developments compared to existing development.
- Landscaping provisions have been updated to include a minimum required landscaped area in front yards, acceptable forms of landscaping, utilizing landscaping for privacy, as well as landscaping for screening of commercial and industrial uses.
- Provisions for outdoor hot tubs and whirl pools have been introduced to ensure they are not located in front or side yards and they are secured from public entry.
- Parking standards have been updated to a single new section to include minimum stall parking requirements for residential, industrial, commercial and public uses. The proposed regulations are intended to provide guidance for a greater number of uses and the size requirements for the stalls being provided.
- Provisions for retaining walls are being proposed, which include the option for the Development Authority to require a retaining wall where there is an elevation difference of 0.3 m or more or a slope greater than 1:3, and require the submission on an engineering report.
- Temporary and soft-sided buildings have also been included, to give the Development Authority the ability to temporarily approve them subject to their removal. Soft-sided buildings are allowable in residential districts as greenhouses or on a temporary basis, and are allowable in non-residential districts.
- Regulations for Adult Entertainment Establishments are also being proposed, to establish a separation distance of 150 metres from residential parcels or parcels with schools, churches, public facilities, parks, day cares and playgrounds. The proposed regulations also include design requirements, such as natural surveillance such as ample lighting, glazing, low growing vegetation, and parking areas in the front of the building.
- Provisions for Bed and Breakfasts have also been proposed to require them to be developed within detached dwellings in the land use districts where they are listed, limiting them to three guest bedrooms unless otherwise approved, provide one parking stall per guest room, and only employing permanent residents of the dwelling.
- Home Occupations are home businesses that are operated within a private dwelling, and have been defined in three separate classes:
- Class 1 being ‘desk and phone’ businesses which are essentially unnoticeable within the neighbourhood, and do not require a development permit.
- Class 2 being businesses that do not generate more than ten associated visits per week, and require a development permit and a business license. They are listed as Permitted Uses within the applicable land use districts.
- Class 3 being businesses that are more intense than Class 2 by generating more than ten associated visits per week, may also be operated within an accessory building, and require a development permit and business license. They are listed as Discretionary Uses in the applicable land use districts, and shall not be permitted if they would be more suitable in a commercial or industrial district.
- Manufactured Home provisions have also been proposed to address the appearance of new homes being proposed in districts other than the Manufactured Housing District. These provisions address roof pitch and material, minimum overhang of eaves, a maximum length to width ration of 3:1, a minimum width of 7.3 metres, the home being placed on a permanent foundation, and it being constructed after 1990.
- Provisions for Secondary Suites have been proposed to include updated terminology for inclusiveness and development standards. The proposed regulations include: the overall size not exceeding two bedrooms and being the lesser of 900 square feet or 75% of the ground floor area of the principal building; providing one parking stall per secondary suite; within the R3 and R4 districts secondary suites within an accessory building and a detached dwelling may be located on the same site; for secondary suites within an accessory building setback requirements have been established; and maximum building height have also been proposed.
- Shipping Containers is a new proposed section intended to address their use in commercial, industrial, and public use districts for shipping or storage purposes. The proposed regulations will require them to meet the yard and setback requirements of accessory buildings.
To see the full comparison document outlining the proposed General Regulations reviewed by the Steering Committee, please click the link below.
Draft Ponoka Land Use Bylaw - General Regulations
Please let us know your thoughts on the proposed changes to the General Regulations by filling in the comment form at the link below.
Give Us Your Input
Land Use Districts
The Land Use Districts divide the Town into different districts that determine the allowable uses and their development standards. Within each district the allowable uses are divided into permitted and discretionary uses, and determines the minimum required yards, building sizes and the minimum parcel size requirements.
The proposed text for this section is intended to make each district more concise and to maintain consistent regulations within residential districts, commercial districts, and industrial districts. Minimum required yards have been updated to round numbers and to be consistent within each district. A summary of the proposed changes is listed below. The proposed text that was presented to the Steering Committee is also available below. The proposed text is presented as a bold and strike document, with bold text being proposed, strike text is proposed to be deleted and all other text is existing text to remain.
- The definitions have been expanded to include more uses that are listed in each of the districts, to provide more guidance to the Development Authority as well as to landowners, to help them understand what uses they can develop on their land and what may occur on neighbouring land.
- Residential Estate (RE) District – Proposed changes are to include, Home Occupation Class 1, Home Occupation Class 2, and Secondary Suites in the principal dwelling as Permitted Uses; and Bed and Breakfasts, Community Gardens, Home Occupation Class 3 and Secondary Suites on accessory buildings as Discretionary Uses.
- Low Density Residential (R1) District - Proposed changes are to include, Home Occupation Class 1, Home Occupation Class 2, and Secondary Suites in the principal dwelling as Permitted Uses; and Bed and Breakfasts, Community Gardens, Home Occupation Class 3 and Secondary Suites on accessory buildings as Discretionary Uses.
- New Low Density Residential – Compact Lot (R1-C) District – This district is a combination of the existing Low Density Narrow Lot Residential (R1A) and Low Density - Medium Lot (R1B) districts. The new R1-C district contains the existing development regulations and uses of the R1A district and will also include the parcels that are currently designated R1B. As the R1A and R1B districts are so similar as small or compact lots, one district can be used. The uses within this district will contain those listed on both the R1A and R1B districts with the inclusion of Home Occupation Class 1, Home Occupation Class 2, and Secondary Suites in the principal dwelling as Permitted Uses; and Bed and Breakfasts, Community Gardens, Home Occupation Class 3 and Secondary Suites on accessory buildings as Discretionary Uses.
- Low Density – Medium Lot Residential (R1B) District – Parcels designated R1B will be redesignated to R1-C. They will retain the same allowable uses and the existing parcels will exceed the minimum parcel requirements of the R1-C district.
- General Residential (R2) District – This is a new name for the existing Low Density Multi-Family (R2) District. The proposed changes are to include Home Occupation Class 1, Home Occupation Class 2, and Secondary Suites in the principal dwelling as Permitted Uses; and Boarding Houses, Care Facilities, Community Gardens, Home Occupation Class 3 and Secondary Suites on accessory buildings as Discretionary Uses.
- Medium Density Residential (R3) District – Proposed changes to this district include the addition of the following uses, Home Occupation Class 1, Home Occupation Class 2, and Secondary Suites in the principal dwelling as Permitted Uses; and Community Gardens, Home Occupation Class 3 and Secondary Suites on accessory buildings as Discretionary Uses. New parcel size requirements have also been added for multi-family uses that were not previously provided, and a maximum building height of 10 metres.
- High Density Residential (R4) District – Proposed changes to this district include the addition of, Fourplexes, Stacked Row Houses, Home Occupation Class 1, and Home Occupation Class 2 as Permitted Uses; and Community Gardens, Existing Detached Dwellings, and Multiple Housing Developments as Discretionary Uses. New parcel size requirements have also been added for multi-family uses that were not previously provided, and a maximum building height of 13.5 metres for apartments and 10 metres for all other uses.
- Manufactured Home Subdivision (MHS) District – The proposed changes to this district are to update the terminology, add minimum parcel size requirements, and update minimum required yards to be consistent with other residential districts.
- Manufactured Home Park (MHP) District – This district has been updated to include a list of allowable uses as in other districts, development standards for individual sites and a maximum park density of 17 homes per hectare. Development standards have also been proposed for parks, including access and circulation, recreation areas and landscaping, storage areas and utilities.
- Central Commercial (C1) District – the proposed changes to this district are to include more defined uses, such as; Animal services, Bus depots, Commercial recreation and entertainment, Commercial schools, Convenience stores, Day care facilities, Financial services, Funeral homes, Health services, Hotels, Offices, Mixed use developments, Parks and playgrounds, Personal services, Retail sales, and Restaurants as Permitted Uses; and Car washes, Care facilities, Gas bars, Light repair services, Nightclubs, Parking facilities, and Existing dwellings at the time of adoption of this Land Use Bylaw as Discretionary Uses. A maximum allowable building height has also been proposed, 13.7 metres (45 feet).
- Highway Commercial (C2) District – The proposed use changes for this district are to include; Animal services, Bus depots, Car washes, Convenience stores, Gas bars, Health services, Hotels, Motels, Offices, Personal services, Restaurants, and Veterinary clinics as Permitted Uses; and Auction facilities, Caretaker suites, Commercial recreation and entertainment, Commercial schools, Crematoriums, Day care facilities, District shopping centres, Essential public services, Feed mills and grain elevators on Lot 1, Block 5, Plan 3198 NY, Financial services, Light repair services, Medical cannabis counselling, Mixed use developments, Mobile commercial sales, Night clubs, Outdoor storage yards, Parking facilities, Public/Quasi public uses, Service to industry and agriculture, and Veterinary hospitals as Discretionary Uses. A maximum allowable building height of 13.7 metres (45 feet) has also been proposed.
- Light Industrial (M1) District – Proposed changes to this district include adding Feed mills and grain elevators, Bulk fuel sales and storage and Animal services as Permitted Uses; and Adult entertainment, Adult mini-theatres, Accessory dwelling units, Crematorium, Industrial training facility/schools, Kennels, Municipal shop and storage yards, and Outdoor storage yards as Discretionary Uses. In addition minimum parcel size requirements and a maximum building height have also been proposed that were not previously provided.
- Heavy Industrial (M2) District – Proposed changes to this district include all listed Permitted Uses in the M1 District as Permitted Uses in the M2 District as well as Municipal storage yard, and Outdoor storage yards. Proposed new Discretionary Uses include, Abattoirs, Adult entertainment, Adult mini-theatres, Caretaker suites, Cartage and freight terminal, Heavy manufacturing and processing, Industrial training facility/schools, Livestock auction markets, Public/Quasi public uses, and Wrecking and salvage yards. Minimum parcel size requirements have also been proposed as well as a maximum building height of 30.0 metres (98 feet).
- Institutional and Public Uses (IPU) District – Proposed changes to this district include adding Commercial recreation and entertainment as a Discretionary Use, and adding development standards for Campgrounds which includes a maximum density of 65 sites per hectare.
- Park and Recreation (P) District – The main proposed change to this district is to include Golf Courses and Driving Ranges as a Discretionary Use.
To see the full comparison document outlining the proposed Land Use Districts reviewed by the Steering Committee please click the link below.
Draft Ponoka Land Use Bylaw - Land Use Districts
Please let us know your thoughts on the proposed changes to the Land Use Districts by filling in the comment form at the link below.
Give Us Your Input
The next steps in the review process are:
- Complete the public consultation - Following the close of the electronic open house a summary of all input received will be prepared,
- Steering Committee review meeting - The Steering Committee will then meet to review the public input and determine if any changes are needed to the proposed text,
- Formal adoption process – Following the Steering Committee review, the proposed Land Use Bylaw will then be presented to Council for first reading followed by a public hearing. The public hearing represents the last opportunity for public input before Town Council officially adopts the new Land Use Bylaw.