The City of Dawson Creek has adopted an Official Community Plan bylaw. OCPs are bylaws that set out the future vision and direction of for land use, growth and development, and which provides objectives and policies to guide decisions on planning and land use management on lands within the area covered by the plan. This includes identifying the future land uses of lands within the OCP’s area by designating them with a land use designation. Future bylaws must be consistent with the OCP.
The majority of OCP amendment applications propose changing the land use designation of a property. When a proposed development is not consistent with the current land use regulations in place, it often triggers the need to amend the land use designation in place for the subject land(s). OCP amendment applications can be, and often are processed concurrently with Zoning Bylaw Amendment (rezoning) applications.
The long-term approach to which OCPs are developed makes amending them a practice that should be approached with caution. OCPs are a future-oriented considered a living document and are expected to receive amendments from time-to-time. Regularly amending OCPs can cause issues as each amendment can alter the direction of the OCP from its established long-term vision and overall strategy for land use and growth management. It is recognized that as communities grow and evolve, new needs will emerge that may require amendments to the OCP. In these cases, an OCP amendment should be carefully considered to ensure that it is in the best interests of the community.