To the editor;
This is regarding postings on Clearwater and Vavenby info-boards about hobby farm zoning and livestock.
I would like to clarify where the process is at with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District in respect to the proposed setting of livestock limits.
To begin, no zoning bylaw amendments have been made regarding livestock and no bylaw readings have even commenced.
This process actually started due to a bylaw enforcement issue. Direction was made to staff via resolution from the previous TNRD board of directors. It was then reiterated by the present board over a year ago.
Finally, a suggested approach via a lengthy staff report was taken to this board at a committee of the whole meeting in late 2016. Staff is currently working on more consultation, a survey, and the draft bylaw, which staff hopes to take before the board of directors in February or March of 2017.
Given that we are proposing to set limits under the Local Government Act zoning authority (not animal control authority), non-conforming uses may continue provided they were lawful under the previous zoning bylaw.
It is the use that would be grandfathered – not the owner of the property. Thus if Hobby Farmer Brown had 50 chickens and sold his one acre parcel of land, the new owner could continue with those 50 or get 50 new chickens(i.e. doesn’t have to be the same chickens). But the new owner could not have 60 chickens or more than 50, the amount that was grandfathered .
If the new bylaw is passed and if it sets livestock limits at 25 chickens per acre, any owner who went down to that cap for six months would then be subject to that bylaw. i.e. they would lose their non-conforming status. Note that six months is stipulated in the Local Government Act and applies across B.C.
Finally please note that there are some use and livestock limits already that have been in our zoning bylaw for years under the term of “Intensive Agriculture Use” only allowed on parcels over 16 ha. These are for feedlots (over 200 animals), major (over 500) poultry operations, etc. These limits would not apply to ALR lands.
If anyone has any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, Carol Schaffer, TNRD Area A director at 250-674-7049 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Carol Schaffer, director
TNRD Area A (Wells Gray Country)