In the District of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia a proposed Land Use By-law has sparked controversy and concern among some residents and property owners. The by-law, which regulates land use and development within the district, sets out a number of restrictions and limitations on property owners.
Here are some of the main restrictions and limitations in the proposed Land Use By-law for the District of Yarmouth, along with additional details:
The by-law limits the number of recreational vehicles or trailers that can be parked on a lot or private property to two. For example, Policy 4-60 of the proposed Land Use By-law for the District of Yarmouth defines having more than two recreational vehicles on a lot as an “RV park”. This means that if someone wants to have more than two recreational vehicles on their property, they would need to meet the requirements and regulations for operating an RV park, which include obtaining the necessary permits and adhering to specific zoning and development standards.
The proposed Land Use By-law would apply to all properties within the District of Yarmouth, including private properties. If you have more than two RVs on your property at any one time, you are considered an RV park according to Policy 4-60. Policy 4-61 permits RV parks by site plan approval in only specific zones. This means that if a property owner wants to have more than two RVs on their lot, they would need to apply for site plan approval from the district and comply with the requirements outlined in the Land Use By-law.
The proposed by-law’s definition of recreational vehicles includes any vehicle that is designed to provide basic amenities for sleeping and short-term use. This includes a variety of different types of vehicles, such as campers, trailers, and motorhomes, among others.
So, if you have an RV parked on your property, and two family/friends show up for the night, both with trucker campers, the total number of recreational vehicles on your property would exceed the limit of two, and you would be considered an RV park according to Policy 4-60. Therefore, you would need to obtain the necessary permits and comply with the requirements for operating an RV park.
Policy 4-62 allows the council to implement inclusionary zoning through the Land Use By-law, after a feasibility study is conducted. Inclusionary zoning would require a certain percentage of affordable housing units to be included in all new residential developments or in residential developments of a certain scale. However, the policy does not specify how the land for these affordable units would be obtained. This means that the council would need to come up with a plan on how to acquire land for affordable housing units if inclusionary zoning is implemented.
Policy 4-8.3 in the Land Use By-law of the Municipality of Yarmouth allows the council to require a parkland dedication of at least 5% of the subdivision area or an equivalent cash payment in lieu of land transfer to the municipality. This policy aims to create public recreation lands and support the development of parks in the municipality. However, landowners may face additional costs as a result of this policy.
It is important to note that the municipality cannot confiscate private property under this by-law, but rather may require a payment or land transfer as a condition of subdivision approval. It is reasonable to question whether this policy will become the means for the municipality to acquire land for Policy 4-62 by leveraging their legislative powers to compel landowners and developers to surrender a portion of their land.
While it is true that the municipality cannot seize private property under this by-law, it may be perceived as a coercive tactic to require a payment or land transfer as a condition of subdivision approval. As a result, it could be argued that the policy places additional costs and burdens on landowners and developers.
It remains to be seen how this policy will be applied in practice and whether it will achieve the intended goal of creating public recreation lands and supporting the development of parks in the municipality. Could this by-law be an indirect ‘land grab?’ Does the district really intend to use all the land in this manner? Those opposed to these by-laws should be asking the District of Yarmouth this question.
What steps will the council take to prevent Policy 4-8.3 from being seen as a coercive measure to force landowners and developers to give up a portion of their land? Additionally, what guarantees do we have that the land acquired through this policy will be used solely for its intended purpose of creating public recreation lands and supporting the development of parks and will not be rezoned for other purposes at a later date?
The by-law covers rules for building and structure usage, zoning regulations for land use, and environmental protection provisions. It sets regulations on building occupancy, parking requirements, and accessory building construction, while also designating specific zones for different land use types with their own development standards. Additionally, the by-law includes provisions for environmental protection, such as stormwater management and wetland protection.
Some residents and property owners have expressed frustration and anger at what they see as government overreach into their private property rights. They argue that the restrictions and limitations imposed by the by-law are too strict and limit their ability to use and enjoy their own property.
While fines for non-compliance with the by-law are not specified, local officials have the authority to impose fines ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the nature of the offense. More serious or repeated violations may result in legal action or other penalties.
Opponents of the proposed Land Use By-laws for the District of Yarmouth argue that they will make it harder for people to use their property as they see fit, and could even result in fines for non-compliance. They believe that it is unfair to punish law-abiding citizens for simply trying to live their lives and use their property as they wish. They call on the district council to listen to the concerns of the community and work with them to find solutions that respect individual property rights. Anything less would be a betrayal of the trust that citizens have placed in their elected officials.
While it’s difficult to predict exactly how the proposed by-laws could impact home sales in the area, it’s possible that some buyers may be turned off by the restrictions and limitations. For example, restrictions on the number of recreational vehicles or trailers that can be parked on a lot may deter potential buyers who have a large RV or boat. Similarly, restrictions on certain commercial activities in residential zones may discourage those who were hoping to run a home-based business or operate a small retail store.
It’s worth noting, however, that the by-laws are still in the proposal stage and have not yet been implemented. It remains to be seen whether they will be adopted as is, or if there will be modifications made based on feedback.
References: Draft Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) & Land Use Bylaw (LUB) https://www.planmody.ca/documents