An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a City bylaw that defines policies for the way land is to be used and developed in a City, over a 20-30 year timeframe. Aside from providing policy direction on development, the OCP addresses other matters important to a City such as economic development, transportation, housing, environmental protection, and infrastructure, in order to guide decisions in a way that helps achieve the community’s long-term vision.
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The zoning bylaw is a regulatory tool that is very specific about the way land is used, how much floor space is allowed (density), building siting (where it's located on a lot), building height, and other issues such as landscaping and lot coverage requirements as they relate to a lot or site. The zoning bylaw regulates what a property owner can legally do with their land. The OCP is more strategic and often less prescriptive about specific sites and is the guiding document for general land uses. The OCP is the overriding land use direction for future zoning.
The City’s policies, plans and regulations need to be in alignment with the OCP. The OCP Review seeks to ensure that this important policy document is in alignment with the values, priorities, and aspirations of the community.
An Official Community Plan (OCP) Review involves significant public involvement from the beginning to the end so that its goals and policies reflect community concerns and hopes for the future. During an OCP update, the review involves broad input from residents, elected officials, staff, and stakeholders.
The OCP review includes the following subject areas:
Local governments (City Council and City Staff), developers, and professionals such as architects, engineers, and planners use the OCP to understand, for example, what the community wants as it relates to providing housing options, transportation services, infrastructure, and community amenities. The OCP is used as a land use guide, such as when Council makes decisions about property rezonings (i.e. changing use, density, or height). They also use the OCP to better understand which areas of the City are suitable for development and which areas are not.
You can use the OCP to get a better understanding of our local issues and how we are planning to address them or what changes may happen in your neighbourhood.
Applications to develop property such as a zoning amendment (rezoning) or Major Development Permit can still be submitted and brought forward for Council’s consideration under the existing OCP. Council may move the application forward, decline it, or request that the application be held until the OCP is complete or a later stage of the OCP Review.