Delta wants better farm housing options

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More options for small additional homes on farms are needed.

That’s among the suggestions to the provincial government which last week released a “what we heard” summary report on the Ministry of Agriculture’s proposed policy direction to increase residential flexibility in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The report summarizes feedback from individuals, associations and local governments earlier this year in response to policy considerations outlined in the ministry’s intentions paper on residential flexibility in the ALR.

The intentions paper was government’s response to concerns heard during ALR engagement sessions in last fall.

The government notes that to allow time for the development of new regulations, the grandfathering period for manufactured homes in the ALR is being extended to July 31, 2021.

Landowners in the ALR will have until then to obtain the required permits and authorizations to place a manufactured additional residence for immediate family on their property, without having to apply to the Agricultural Land Commission.

The provincial government earlier this year unveiled proposed changes for farm housing in its policy intentions paper.

The regulatory changes are to enable landowners to have both a principal residence and a small secondary residence on their property, including garden suites, guest houses and carriage suites.

The ministry notes it is working to develop regulatory changes that are consistent with the intentions paper.

Land in the ALR currently must have no more than one residence per parcel, while new or replacement additional farmhouses are only allowed where the need for an additional housing has been demonstrated.

Having gathered input from the civic agricultural advisory committee and the Delta Farmers’ Institute, the City of Delta this year asked for the farm house regulation to be revamped.

“There are significant concerns relating to the strict regulations surrounding additional farm housing, particularly as they relate to generational farm families. There is a desire in Delta for the ALC to provide additional flexibility in allowing home site severances and additional farm houses and to leave decision making and control to local decision makers who have a greater understanding of local issues and farming operations,” a planning department report notes.

“This flexibility would allow for more support to be given to succession planning and for growing farm operations, including generational farm-based operations. It was noted that focus should be on the footprint or farm home plate rather than the number of homes on a farm.”

 

 

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