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The Provincial government has introduced amendments to the Municipal Government Act that would require municipalities to plan for the efficient use of land within their boundaries.
 
See Tuesday's Chronicle Herald article:
Nova Scotia municipalities directed toward land-use planning.
UPDATE: Area Advisory Committee Holds First Meeting 

September 26, 2018
 
Neighbours and Friends:

It's been a long time getting here, but, because of your support, the Granville Road Area Advisory Committee had its first meeting on September 24th. Nancy Smith of Port Wade was elected Chair and Chris Hopkins of Granville Beach, Vice-Chair. Both have previous land use planning experience. The County Planner, Albert Dunphy distributed a map of the proposed planning area. It is from the brow of the North Mountain to the Annapolis River and from Mills Mountain Rd. west on the Granville Road to Victoria Beach. 
 
He then gave committee members background on land use planning explaining that a Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) is written from what land uses residents want for their area. From it, a Land Use By-law (LUB) is then drawn which must be approved by Council and the Province to become law.
 
Mr. Dunphy then told the Committee that their job is to be the "ear" of Council by taking the "pulse" of their communities so they can make recommendations to Council on what the diverse communities on the road want. He said that some communities may want land use planning and others not. We expect the Committee will meet the need for public discussion and educating residents what a land use by-law using zoning is (and is not).
 
He then said that the very first and probably most important of these recommendations will let Council know if there's sufficient support to proceed with land use planning and in which communities. This will be based on the answers to the following two questions which the Committee must get from their friends and neighbours by talking to them.
 
  1. Do you want a Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) which would be the basis for creating a Land Use By-law (LUB)?
  2. What areas of the proposed planning area have a majority of inhabitants who want this?
 
One of the diverse communities on the road has formed and named itself the Habitation Community which is from Mills Mountain Road to the Habitation. It has already answered these two questions in a signed survey conducted by community members this past August. What better way to get the "pulse" of the Community, then door to door, face to face, neighbour to neighbour! 
 
We can only assume that the County Planner was unaware of the survey's methodology when he expressed some skepticism of the survey as it is the very method he suggested. Councillor Heming was given a list of all who signed with their civic addresses as well as thorough supporting data and has told us in an email that he will make sure the Committee is aware of it. Hopefully, Mr Dunphy will see this information at that time. 
 
To recap that survey, of the Habitation Community's approximately 190 voting age, adult inhabitants less committee members and those infirm, leaving 182, 152 or 83.5% signed the survey to the Granville Road Area Advisory Committee which said:
 
  • I want to protect our community's beauty and history, quality of life, property values and encourage family farming, small business*and tourism. 
  • I don't wantland use that would have a negative impact on our community. This would include industries such as commercial water/mineral extraction and factory farms. 
  • I supportland use planning to accomplish this.
*home-based business
 
We support MPS/LUB for all of the Granville Road. However, Council recognizes as do we, that there are diverse communities on it. So, in our opinion, land use planning areas should be determined by community identity, that is, people's shared values, the area's history and agreement on its best use by the majority of inhabitants. The Habitation Community has all of these attributes and has already spoken. Council should take note of this.
 
The Nova Scotia Municipal Government Act defines what local governments can do. It gives municipalities flexibility in how to implement land use planning. Therefore,we believe the most expeditious way of having this discussion is for the Committee to listen to each of these communities, one at a time, to determine if it wants to use land use planning. The Habitation Community, having spoken, would be the first, serving as a pilot for other areas.
 
What type of LUB would best meet what most adult inhabitants in the Habitation Community want? 
 
Unlike Annapolis County which must create a new MPS/LUB for each new planning area, Kings County has one, county-wide, LUB which has multiple zones. It's new LUB which is in its final draft includes the Historic Hamlet of Grand Pre Zone.  
 
While the Habitation Community area would not be subject to an existing Heritage District By-law, this zone is still an excellent guide for this Community and the Committee to consider as the Grand Pre and Habitation Communities have strong historic, cultural connections and topographic similarities with dyked agricultural marshlands. As we want to promote tourism, opportunities include:
  • The support of Parks Canada to promote visiting both our area with Fort Anne/Melanson Settlement/Port Royal (the Habitation) and Grand Pre could be anticipated. 
  • The Harvest Moon (Rail to) Trail between Grand Pre and Annapolis Royal will soon extend to the Habitation with the repaving and addition of bicycle lanes on the Granville Road.The bicycle lanes will be part of the province-wide Blue Route system
This zone addresses most of what people asked for in our 2018 survey with these suggested changes.
 
  • Agricultural uses would have to be clearly defined so that there would be no factory farms which include concentrated animal and fish feeding facilities for the production of on-land fish, poultry, hog, beef and mink. 
                                                   
  • There would be no need for farm tenements and bunkhouses as we don't have and don't want large scale agriculture that requires housing for large numbers of workers.
 
  • Commercial water and mineral extraction should specifically be excluded unless as not listed are by default, prohibited.
 
  • Home-Based Business inclusions (which were called "small business" in the survey)require discussion. See page 161, Section 14.4 of the Kings County Draft Land Use By-law. Levels 1&2 seem suitable, but, some in Level 3 may not.
 
  • Forestry to be included.
 
Note:
The Dentiballis (aka Dentabella) and Queen Anne Agricultural Marshlands are protected under the Marshlands Conservation Act and their own marsh body by-laws. 
 
The County's sub-division bylaw overlays all zoning when a landowner wants to sub-divide their property for any reason.
 
Best Regards,
Wayne Currie
 
 
 
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