Local Government Act
Bulletin No.: G.3.0.0Date: October 2000
Comprehensive Bylaw and Repeal of Rural Land Use Bylaw Provisions
The new provisions, which will become effective January 1, 2001, reflect the Municipal
Act Reform principles of broader powers and flexibility.
Specifically, the legislation provides:
- broader powers for
local governments to pass a single bylaw to encompass all matters in
Part 26 and most matters in the remainder of the Local Government
- flexibility for
local government to name bylaws as they consider appropriate to
Division 3 of Part 26 is
repealed but the ability to create a Rural Land Use Bylaw (RLUB) remains
available by using provisions for development in a comprehensive general bylaw.
- Section 259.1 provides
authority for local governments to exercise all or part of their
authority through a "comprehensive general bylaw", but that
authority is subject to other provisions of the Act. The former
section 873 restricted the combination of Part 26 authorities in a
single bylaw to authorities under Divisions 4 to 11. This meant that
official community plan (OCP) authority could not be exercised in
the same bylaw as other land use management provisions such as
zoning, and that Part 26 bylaws could not be combined with
authorities under other parts of the Act.
- Section 873 was repealed
by the Local Government Statutes Amendment Act, 2000 ( Bill
14), effectively removing the restriction on comprehensive bylaws
and allowing the provisions of section 259.1 to be applied to all
authority under Part 26. Therefore, both municipalities and regional
districts may now exercise any of their Part 26 powers (i.e.,
planning and land use management authority) including OCP authority,
and any other Local Government Act authority in any of the
- by combining most authorities in a single
bylaw (i.e., some authorities, such as loan authorization authority, is
still required to by exercised in a separate bylaw);
- by combining parts of the authorities in one
bylaw and exercising others in separate bylaws; or,
- by exercising all of the authorities in
- Provisions relating to
RLUBs contained in Division 3 of Part 26 provided a limited
exception to the section 873 restrictions on combining bylaws, by
allowing some aspects of OCP, zoning and subdivision servicing
authorities to be combined. With the elimination of the section 873
restrictions, the need to separately authorize regional districts to
include some aspects of OCP, zoning and subdivision servicing in a
single bylaw is also eliminated, since the provisions of section
259.1 already allow this. Therefore, specific RLUB authority has
been repealed, and regional districts can, in the same way as
municipalities, choose to exercise any of their Local Government
Act powers as identified above.
- Section 876 now provides
a requirement that an OCP "must be included in the adopting bylaw as
a schedule". This provision applies whether or not the OCP is
combined with other authorities, and is intended to provide clarity
with respect to which aspects of a particular bylaw relate to policy
(i.e., OCP) and which relate to regulation (eg., zoning). This
provision, however, does not apply to an existing RLUB by
virtue of section 873.1.
- Under section 873.1 all
existing rural land use bylaws are deemed to be comprehensive bylaws
pursuant to section 259.1. Applicable provisions of a RLUB are
deemed to be provisions of an OCP, zoning or subdivision servicing
bylaw depending on their nature.
- The elimination of rural
land use bylaws provisions as a specific power for regional
districts bring the planning activities of regional districts and
municipalities closer together.
- Section 259.1 provides
authority for comprehensive general bylaws.
- Section 280.1 authorizes
the consolidation of one or more bylaws.
- Section 794 provides
cross-references to sections 259.1 and 280.1, making them applicable
to regional districts.
- There is no statutory
requirement for regional districts to identify which provisions of
existing RLUB relate to OCP, zoning or subdivision servicing
authority, but there may be a number of practical reasons to do
this. For example:
- with the deeming of various RLUB provisions
to OCP, zoning or subdivision servicing bylaw provisions, depending
on their nature, a provision that was in Part 1 of a RLUB and
intended as a statement of policy, may actually be considered as a
regulation if the nature of the provision is sufficiently prescriptive.
Similarly, provisions in Part 2 that were intended to be regulatory may
be found to be in the nature of policy, and therefore deemed to be OCP.
- some officials such as approving officers and
building inspectors must consider an OCP differently than a regulatory
bylaw, such as zoning. Identifying which provisions of the bylaw relate
to the OCP and which relate to regulatory powers will therefore provide
greater clarity for approving officers in the exercise of their
statutory duties; and,
- the bylaw must be adopted, amended or
repealed according to the same requirements that relate to the exercise
of the authority in separate bylaws (section 259.1(3)). So, for
instance, if a part of an existing RLUB relating to subdivisions
servicing standards is amended, a public hearing is not required, but if
the zoning provisions of that same bylaw were amended, a public hearing
may be required.
should therefore review existing RLUB to examine the intent of
each provision, and to ensure that the intent matches the nature of the
provision (i.e., if a provision was intended as policy, its nature
should not be regulatory). If the nature of any of the provisions appear
to be in conflict with their intention, the regional district may wish
to clarify the provision through amendments to the RLUB.
- In making decisions about
what authorities to exercise in a single bylaw, local governments
will want to consider whether the advantages in doing so outweigh
the disadvantages. For example, combining bylaws has the advantage
of ensuring all provisions relating to one area of land can be found
in one place, but disadvantages such as confusion about what
authority particular provisions in the bylaw relate to or the
potential for minor amendments to open up protracted discussions on
aspects of the bylaw that are not being amended.
- Local governments will
have complete freedom to chose a name for the bylaw, for example,
call it the "Area 'A' Rural Land Use Bylaw".
Even though the authority to enact RLUBs will be repealed, all current
RLUBs remain in force and effect, and are deemed by section 873.1 to be
comprehensive bylaws under section 259.1. This protects the current
status of existing RLUBs, but regional districts should be aware at such
time as amendments to existing bylaws are desired, the new provisions
relating to the aspect of the bylaw being amended must be complied with
(eg., if an amendment to an OCP provision is needed, then the bylaw that
makes the amendment must also ensure that all OCP provisions are
included as a schedule to the bylaw).
Local Government Act References:
Primary Sections: 259.1, 872, 873.1
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