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Town council hears from the community about proposed new zoning by law, official community plan

Concerns and praise were heard during the public hearing this evening (Wednesday) at Smithers Town Hall regarding the proposed Official Community Plan (OCP) and new zoning bylaw.

The process of the OCP began in May 2021 which went through five phases of the bylaw review.

It will provide future growth and development in Smithers that acts as the long term community vision.

According to the Town, the OCP will guide Council on growth and development in Smithers and provide direction on how land is used and developed.

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During a presentation to council McElhanney spokesperson Alison Watson said during the OCP process they heard from residents concerns about removing downtown areas where single detached homes could be constructed.

“What’s in the proposed zoning bylaw is to create an overlay zone so, no more table, it’s a map based system which essentially maps out what those legal descriptions were referencing,” she said.

Watson added that homes in the affected areas can have more flexibility in their zoning.

Local resident Denise Dilny said at first she was scared about the talks of the rezoning between commercial and residential in the downtown core.

“What I’m hearing now is a huge relief so, I just want to thank everybody involved, Alison and whoever else for clarifying those things,” she said.

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Among the concerns that were brought forward are bicycling parking at retail and stores and auxiliary buildings.

A second public hearing will be held for the OCP and proposed zoning bylaw will be held at the next regular council meeting on September 27.

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