The amendments approved by City Council on October 19, 2015 (see item 3.14) established three new land use classes for urban agriculture within the City’s Zoning Bylaw - Urban Outdoor Farms, Urban Indoor Farms, and Urban Gardens - along with the zones to which the new uses apply. These new land use classes officially create a place for urban agriculture within the bylaw and distinguished it from related activities, such as conventional farming, greenhouses, plant nurseries and garden centres.
Additional amendments approved at the February 17, 2016 City Council Public Hearing (see item 3.13) expand the three new land use classes to special residential zones, such as Terwillegar, Griesbach and Ambleside, and allow Urban Farms in Commercial Shopping Centre zones. The changes also introduce new wording to exclude cultivation or growth of marijuana from the Urban Indoor Farms Use Class. Health Canada approved marijuana production facilities are intended to be located in industrial areas under the General Industrial use class.
The changes also include:
- Ensuring the proper regulations and standards are in place for the design, maintenance and operation of urban agriculture activities. This includes development regulation considerations to ensure compatibility with surrounding land uses, and minimize potential nuisance factors on neighbouring properties in residential areas.
- Excluding gardening for personal use from requiring a development permit.
- Excluding community gardens from requiring a development permit on City parkland, as the City already has a process in place to evaluate proposals.
- Allowing animal keeping that is in accordance with the regulations under Animal Licensing and Control Bylaw 13145. City Council passed an amendment to the Animal Licensing and Control Bylaw on April 28, 2015 to permit beekeeping in the city. A report on urban hens was presented at Community Services Committee on March 7, 2016.