Friday, May 25, 2012

Buchanan Road Cave-In

Potholes on roads are one thing.

But a three-foot wide by four-foot deep road edge cave-in is entirely something else.

The photo was emailed to Coldstream's building inspection department on the morning of May 24th when the writer returned from town, stopping briefly to replace the traffic cone which had tipped over, and snapping the photo.

One full day later, this morning, no barricades--nor additional traffic cones--had been added to cordon off the area from drivers who travel the road at 70 kph.  Nights would be extremely hazardous as no street lights exist at all on Buchanan Road.

"Maybe the District of Coldstream is waiting for the adjacent homeowners to apply for a renovation building permit," offers Kia, "so the off-site drainage works can be triggered."

Hope not!
As the photo shows (west aspect), this location across from 8143 Buchanan Road is the lowest point of a 2 kilometre-long "dip" in the terrain.  The road slopes toward the cave-in from both the west and east for approximately 2 kilometres.

The residents of 8143 Buchanan can't be blamed for the lack of effective drainage.

Because this location has washed out in the same manner, virtually every spring, for at least 35 years (personal recollection).  Long ago--before the road was paved--mud resulting from a heavy rain would wash away part of the road, with the deluge running onto Coldstream Ranch's adjacent field.

All in exactly the same spot as currently.

But we'd better warn residents Randy and Helen Smith anyway.
Because the District of Coldstream has been known to employ some very distasteful tactics with residents under this Mayor and Council.

This is a District of Coldstream road maintenance failure.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Public Comments from Proposed Ag Plan

It wasn't clear sailing for Coldstream Council's proposed Ag Plan.

After seven weeks, public comments have been released.

Here are the meat 'n potatoes of residents' comments (verbatim where possible):

Of particular interest to the Coldstream Acreage Owners' Association:
"RU10:  dislike strongly in regard to future restrictions as to what I may do on my own land".

"RU10:  land that is not farmland, but that is in the ALR, should not be part of it (i.e. steep hillsides or rocky areas).  Large parcels that are not close to areas that are quite built or on the border of development should be considered."

"RU30:  farm home plate does not seem to make sense in RU30; why impose such a restriction when you are dealing with such large tracts of non-ALR land?"

"Rural2 Zoning is the proper zoning for rural Coldstream and should be maintained."

"RU10:  fine if it's ALR land".

"RU30:  this is definitely not a good idea.  The proper land to be used for future residential development for all densities is this non-ALR land.  Not one landowner wants this zoning change."

"The proposed broadbrush approach includes hundreds of slope-compliant RU2 potential lots."

"The Crown land adjacent does not need 'protection from development' as 95% of the province is Crown land."

"The substantial loss in land value due to this rezoning will have to be paid."

"Farmland protection:  There is no need for additional protection of farmland."

"The biggest threat ever to farmland in Coldstream was the Coldstream Council itself trying to remove one of the largest most viable working sections to turn into a recreational complex!  Thankfully saner heads prevailed."

"Residential areas are not appropriate areas for farm animals. Chickens will create unpleasant odours and will attract rodents and disease. People who want to grow chickens should move to rural properties."

"The existing "pickers cabin" designation to me seems appropriate and is already very restrictive. The difference in this wording is that more bureaucracy is involved and the building size is cut in half. If there are temporary workers requiring housing, then a "bunkhouse" type of accommodation would be the most practical."

"True agricultural land should be kept for agriculture. I support retaining large parcels that are viable farm lands within the ALR."

"Farm home plate:  There are already setback regulations in place that keep buildings within specified parameters. Limiting private use of private land to less than 4% with maximum setbacks is very restrictive. In many cases the 'lay of the land' determines the appropriate setting and size of a homesite and requisite outbuildings.  Specific issues as addressed in the handout re "Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 1584,2011 such as 'subdivision layout, building design, stormwater management, disclosure statements and sign age, and incorporating landscaped and siting buffers between new subdivisions and ALR lands can surely be accommodated with less than a 300m setback and on less than 30 ha of land."

"RU30 zone:  Property that has been purchased under existing RU2 rules has been appraised and purchased at a certain value based on those rules and on an understanding of the potential of that property. Changing these rules detrimentally affects owner's equity. Existing regulations and fees
regarding subdivision are already very stringent and serve to limit development.  There is no reasonable reason for prohibiting development on our rural areas not within ALR. These property owners deserve to be covered by the regulations under which they purchased their properties. I support
the fact the properties in the ALR should be protected where possible for agriculture. Having said this, where is the development going to be? Logically this would be the hillsides where the land is not arable. The argument that these areas are being used for grazing is unfounded as for the most part the terrain is too steep and climate too arid to support more than a very few animals."

"Omitted uses (B&B, boarding house, community care): I wonder what use council thinks would be appropriate for these rural lands other than one residential building as that is about all the option
that would be left to the owner. If The District of Coldstream wants to purchase these properties and preserve them as parkland, then perhaps they should hold a referendum to do so."

"RU10:  With the understanding it pertains to new subdivisions only."

"Urban Agriculture:  How is a riding arena agriculture?  What is produced?"

"RU10 and Farm Home Plate:  Definitely should not be changed.  How do we/you base viability of area and size?  Can new farmers afford 25 acres?  Setback:  why put homes along a busy road?"

"RU30:  Too many rules!  Why?  Why would urban people on tiny lots (that once were agriculture) want to tell rural areas how to use/divide their land?"

"RU10:  Opposed"

"RU30:  Absolutely opposed"

"RU10:  You are effectively putting a lid on all farm land or a quota.  No new farmers on any of this land.  I think you are restricting the future of ag in this valley."

"RU30:  Not in favour.  If I have a ranch and I think I should give people a ranch experience, part of that is a bed and breakfast."

"RU10:  WHAT PROBLEM ARE YOU TRYING TO SOLVE?  If I owned 62 acres in ALR for 50 years and want to divide it for my 3 children, will I be able to do this?  It appears not."

"RU10 Home Plate:  My only objection is the placement of farm home plate to within 160 feet of fronting road.  A lot of ALR land touches on Hwy 6, land buffer would be important."

"RU10:  I consider my parcel to be under sufficient (if not excessive) regulations as it is and strongly feel that the minimum lot size should not increase." 

"RU2, RU10, RU30:  No change!  Let the provincial land commission deal with all of this!  Why are we wasting money on this?  Please stop spending money on this!"

"RU2, RU10:  Why are we changing any of this zoning when the ALC says no to this anyways? Who is paying for this? Taxpayers!  There is no benefit to us and if you are doing all of this for speculative buyers, well too bad for the buyer who doesn't do his homework to see if he can subdivide.  He can pay the ...."(not cont'd)

"RU2, RU10, RU30:  Do not agree at all with 1597 (2011), 1584 (2011), 1597 (2011)".

"RU2 seems OK, RU10 is A-OK, RU30 is fantastic".

"RU2:  It is important that farm worker housing meets North American standards providing a warm and comfortable home but the restrictions set by council are too rigid on such a broad scale rather than addressing each individual situation.  RU10:  If to retain agriculture is the mandate of this ag plan, small holdings (i.e. supplying market gardens) are as important as large holdings. As it stands, council has the right to deny any subdivisions immediately upon application so we strongly feel this new amendment can do more harm than good. An example would be if someone wanted to purchase some land to create a 3 acre market garden; they would have to purchase a 25 acre parcel which is cost prohibitive for most people. Farm home plate:  The basis of this is the restrictions set are so general. Having been farm people all of our life, we can't understand how anyone would want their barn, chemical shed, machinery,etc. close to their residence not only becanse of esthetics but for health and safety standards for family as well as the noise pollution that comes with an active farm.  RU30:  These rules make a person feel so controlled. We used to believe that living in Coldstream was a paradise, rural living at its best but now we feel controlled by a council who creates rules for
agricultural land when they appear to not have a true understanding of what is really necessary for a viable farm community."

"Secondary suites in all rural areas:  Not in favour. Attracts transients. Degrades the qualities of local
communities. Renters, often are just passing through, are rarely interested in getting involved in local, common issues, and considerations of those around them.  Urban ag:  Highly in favour. Although strict guidelines about cleanliness should be part of any bylaws."

"Secondary suites:  Would be an asset and a possible method to increase tax: base if done on
an approval basis.  Urban ag:  Silly but no real issue from the rural aspect.  RU2 changes:  Why continue to add further levels of govt, if it is deemed to be needed or a benefit don't add additional regulations.  RU10:  Absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary to change lot size as the ALC makes any final decision on subdivision,  Home plate:  policy should be eliminated and if found to be benefit to the lower mainland then let it remain their policy; it does not belong in Coldstream policy and should never have been considered.  Farm worker housing should again be seen as asset for the farmer and the cornrnunity. As such it should provide a moderate area and space while satisfying the needs of the property.  RU30:  With such a proposed lot size it is hard to understand what the rational was behind this size and it's constraints."

"Urban ag:  No laying hens in residential areas: potential for rodent infestation.  RU2 zoning:  No special farm worker housing rules.  RU10:  Leave the zoning as is. Agriculture does not "sustain" Coldstream's municipality, taxes do this. RU30:  No New Rural Thirty Zone: see above. Irrigation rights to such property another factor that negatively impacts such larger zones."

"Urban ag:  Against this initiative.  RU2 zoning changes:  I think all property that is under the 5 acre minimum ALR lot size should be removed from the AIR. It is not possible to sustain viable farm operations."

"Urban ag:  Silly".

"Secondary suites:  Must be legal Neighbourhood values ie quiet, parking, and traffic are critical factors.  Urban ag:  No.  Too many issues: attraction of predators, disease, and flies. Furthermore, hens lay for a short span of their lifespan. I do not want my family subjected to the slaughter of non-egg-producing hens.  RU2 zoning changes:  Subject to abuse. Must be monitored.  RU10:  in agreement, if these are productive farms, or wildlife preserves.  RU30:  I don't understand all the issues with this.  I have no problem with a small scale agri-tourism, or care facility that does not detract from our rural quality of life. "  

"Urban ag:  wonderful idea, in keeping with rural living at its best.  RU2 zoning changes:  Trying to understand everything - does this mean if somebody has a year round operation he cannot have his worker housed year round on the property. I approve of keeping everything within the "home plate' to reduce the damage to the agricultural land.  RU10:  If I read this correctly this is an attempt to stop our valuable agriculture land from being cut to bits and used up by large homes and outbuildings covering the productive soil. Please fight on through the onslaught you must surely be facing by those who want to capitalize on the value of our homeland by reducing it to urban ugliness. Middleton mountain is a horrific reminder of a beauty lost although if it was marginal agriculture land it is where housing should be. Did it have to be so ugly? Actually I suppose marginal agricultural land should be saved and only that with no hope turned to other purposes.  With changing climate and more people even marginal land is valuable.  RU30:  By eliminating bed and breakfast are we also stopping farm stays that can teach people the value of agricultural land."

"Secondary suites in all areas:  yes, secondary suites should be allowed in Rural area's Urban Agriculture: no, chickens require more care than most people realize. Cleaning of the pen is very important to minimize smell and for the health of the chickens. There is also the issue of disposing of the manure, where and how!  RU2 zoning changes:  a review of the housing required should be done by application, but not by a housing agreement!  RU10:  The issue with the proposed RU-IO zone is it doesn't allow for the Subdivision of Non ALR from ALR lands as permitted under the ALC regulations. An example say a 36 ac parcel has 26 ac. of non-ALR land and 10 ac. of ALR land, to be able to subdivide the Non ALRfrom the ALR, 15 ac of the NonALR would have to be included in the ALR parcel, The new RU-I 0 zone should recognize the fact that the ALC Regulations permit the subdivision of non-ALR from the ALR lands, and allow the subdivision if legal access can be provided!  Home Plate, keeping in mind that if a person wants to expand an existing Home Plate to house farm workers, the existing home plate may be greater than 60m from a road R/W, so the question is do you create another Home plate closer to the R/W? You need flexiblity in locating Farm worker housing."
"Urban ag:  Who cares, why is council even concerned about this?  RU2 zoning changes:  Leave zoning alone the ALC has guidelines in place. We are being overgoverned as it is.  RU10:  There is no need for this change.  RU30:  same as above Maybe council should allow people to speak and Maybe listen for a change."

"Secondary Suites within all rural areas: As long as they are an integral part of the house and not additional structures.  Urban ag:  great idea.  RU2 zoning changes:  No. Too easy to tum into residential housing in the future. Witness Cousin's Bay.  RU10:  keep agricultural land as it is. "
"Secondary suites:  fine with me, but what's the demand?  Urban ag:  Why are you wasting your time on such an insignificant issue when roads are falling apart all over Coldstream and District ineptitude is wasting hundreds of thousands a year?  RU2 zoning changes:  Need workers - have to house them.
RU10:  Why bother with 2 to 10 when ALR already governs this through blanket rejection policy
(and isn't that democratic?) Make it easy for farmers to increase their home plate .. See previous for worker housing.  RU30:  Sorry to nitpick but there are bigger issues that need solving. Stop this petty politicking and increase the tax base with some light industry. Fire the incompetents who "forget" HST and can't properly cost projects. Do all us taxpayers a favor and try to understand the BIG PICTURE for a change."

"Secondary suites:  allright as long as they have adequate off street parking.  Urban ag:  chicken feces stinks and they are too noisy for residential.  RU2 zoning changes:  these zoning changes are being pushed through too fast by a council tbat seems to want to 'change the world' in to short of a time frame without adequate input from the community.  RU 10:  happening too fast without enough notice, consideration. and public input.  RU 30:  happening too fast without enough notice, consideration and public input."

"Urban ag:  I oppose Section 415 as it applies specifically to residential lots zoned R1 on the grounds the keeping of hens in dense neighbourhoods is incompatible with the expectations and rights of the residents - particularly to the peace and quiet and health of residents.  Permitting hens on residential lots zoned R1 adds another irritant and can lead to unintended consequences - particularly if owners are not disciplined in the care of hens (they) attract rodents, cause obnoxious smells, require access to greens to produce higher quality eggs. Contrary to the bylaw, owners' desire for quality may result in providing hens with garden access (a free-range concept).  Hens love to roam free and will eat plants, flowers and herbs. And since they can fly, their roaming will not be restricted to the owner's yard.  council cannot guarantee enclosures will be compatible with neighbourhood standards (i.e. colour and form) nor that owners will comply with setback requirements. A cursory review of neighbourhoods will reveal some garden tool sheds have violated setback requirements . Perhaps not an issue with tool sheds, but certainly a concern with hen sheds. (34 Resident names and addresses supporting this position were attached.)"

"changes:  We support the protection and promotion of agriculture as espoused in principal in the AAP and OCP. However, the bylaw apparently will make all RU2 properties non-conforming, with profound consequences to all such property owners in future. This is a sea(sic) change from the previously expressed long term plan, about which sufficient notice has not been provided, and which warrants a much broader public discussion, at both a legal and moral level."

"Urban ag:  There have been an ever increasing number of reports about interactions with coyotes in urban environments and the prohlem appears to be getting worse in the Okanagan. Parents in Kelowna have been warned to keep an eye on their small children as they play in the yard. At this time of year in particular, coyotes are being poisoned and shot by ranchers to protect their newborn calfs. They can be spotted fearlessly mousing in the fields on a drive down Buchanan Road on any given day. There appears to already be a coyote overpopulation issue. Allowing chickens in urban areas is needlessly tempting them and could lead to an potentially deadly encounter.  RU10:  many people who own their properties have owned them for a significant portion of their lives. They have worked hard on the land and don't want to leave it behind. Generally the only equity they have is tied up in the land. Rural properties take a lot more work to keep going than urban properties.  Traditionally, one of the ways that rural property owners have been able to stay on their property has been to subdivide off a piece. The working portion of the farm keeps working and the farmer is able to use the money for retirement. Most of us would probably prefer to grow old in our own home. These people feel the same and do not want to see their farms disappear, they want them preserved and hope to grow old watching their farm thrive. "Aging in place" is one of the new paradigms for geriatric health care. The longer we are able to stay in our homes, the less burden there is on an already strained health care system. As a community, we must  support that ideal. Let people take some retirement equity from
their land and still remain at home. A change in the zoning regulation from RU.2 to RU.10 will make
this an impossible dream for many.  A change in the zoning from RU.2 to RU.l 0 will also immediately devalue all rural properties that are affected. If a property suddenly becomes less valuable, it is reasonable to assume that it will not be maintained to the same standards as it once was. The view over the green fields of Coldstream could end up being a view over brown, noxious weed fields and run down farm houses."

"It is my understanding that my property at 13550 Kidston Rd is currently in the ALR and zoned as RU2.  It is my understanding the the OCP wishes it to remain in the ALR.  It is also my understanding that the zoning for my property will stay the same and that any future subdivision of current farmland will not be possible in Coldstream, unless the parcels are subdivided at a minimum often (10) hectares.
As you may be aware, I have been caught in a "change of policy" involving water rates, going from being allowed to irrigate my property at agricultural rates, to now paying for 'water at the current residential rate. I am not prepared to pay the current amounts that are required to fully irrigate hilly pastures. I have tried with no success to appeal this decision by working with the former NOW A and GVSC. An attempt was made to locate my" allocation", and apparently nothing could be found, despite the fact that I had for approximately fifteen years been receiving water at the agricultural rate.
'When the GVSC held a meeting prior to the "referendum" for borrowing to improve water quality, I asked at a public meeting what the criteria would be for paying for water at the agricultural rate and was told then that a decision had not been made. Over time a decision has been made, and it would appear that farm status is the only way to receive this rate. I would appreciate any comments you might have regarding this situation, as I am not clear whether Coldstream has the authority to make changes to water rates within the Municipality.  It had never been my intent to apply for farm status, but the notion of "rural living" ,with horses was and has been appealing. The point I have been trying to make to GVSC is that a hobby farm provides a significant amount of revenue to the community,  particularly if one is involved with livestock:. My wife and I kept two horses on our rural property, with reasonable ease and good pasture management, allowing pastures to be watered and rotated.
Since the GVSC has come into operation my property has essentially been treated as a residential lot, for water rates; and in fact when water restrictions have been in force, I was allowed to water once a week, with the result that a number of fruit trees basically dried up.  My pasture is no longer irrigated, with the effect that it has the potential to be a fire hazard, which naturally is a concern to me given that we are next to the Red Gate. The nonirrigated pasture is subject to wind and soil erosion, which is a concern purely from a land management perspective.  The plants that I do grow, including grapes, raspberries and blaekberries, still require watering and despite the fact that I am using timers and drip irrigation, it is hard to produce quality fruit without adequate water. Whether an. apple tree is on a small property or on a large orchard like the Kidston property it still requires the same amount of water.  I am not sure whether the OCP has considered the benefits to the community of "hobby
farms" and considering that I am in the ALR it makes common sense to me that ALR property be given water at agricultural rates.  Further to these comments, I am wondering whether Coldstream Council might be getting into a situation that it might regret. A case in point is my property and adjacent properties that were purchased from Panoramic Farms ( Palfreys).  Economic times change and "Sometimes it is advantageous for farms to sell off small parcels of property. The larger the acreage specified, (as in the plan) the more difficult it may be for a farmer to dispose of the properties and in fact continuing to farm may be difficult.   I have noted with interest that recently the Kidston Property has been sold into three different parcels, with·sizes being approx 12 acres, 20 acres and 4.5 acres. I am curious to know whether in the future if an orchardist might wish to "retire" would they be boxed into
not being able to do so because of Council's Planning?  As a result of the meeting I became aware of the fact that a suite is allowable on property. in the ALR and other zoned Agricultural Property.  I would appreciate any information that you might have regarding regulations for suites, and also housing for farm workers as it pertains to my situation. It appears to me that that in order to qualify for agricultural water rates I would require farm status. I realize that this is perhaps more of an assessment issue, and there are requirements to generate revenue. In the meantime my property suffers from inadequate water.  I do not know whether this current zoning will affect other small "hobby farms", but hope that there will be consideration given to maintaining a balance of small and large acreages within the municipality...the last time a major decision was made regarding my property, specifically water rates, I have ended up with a significant change to my day to day operation of this property.  I am not completely familiar with the notion of "homeplate" as is currently outlined, and wonder whether current properties already subdivided would be "grandfathered."

"RU10 zoning:  I cannot see how this amendment would benefit Coldstream, given the present settlement plans and existing property values. To explain:  Coldstream already has plenty of lots of all sizes from small to large.  The existing policy, both from the District and the ALC, is not to support lot subdivision in the ALR.  This long term policy, at least from the ALC, is well known.  The existing market prices for land indicates that a 2 ha parcel is priced double that price(per ha.) of a 10 ha parcel so why would any rational individual consider increasing the size of his lots? Of course if the government was going to pay him for his loss in equity then that would be another matter!  Given the existing Canadian Food Policy of supplying an abundance of high quality food to the population, acquired from any place in the world, at the lowest possible prices and given that there is only a finite amount of land around the population centers of B.C.; the result has been that land has been
looked on as an investment good and purcbased with this object in mind and has little to do with its
value in the economics of growing food. It would be very naive to think that changing the size of lots
would have any bearing on the viability of agricultural products that would likely be grown in this area.  It is for the above reasoning that I see no benefit in amending the bylaw and causing the major portion of the existing Coldstream lot owners to carry a notation on their land holdings as to be "non conforming" with the consequence of possibly making it more difficult to carry out improvements and having a negative effect on the value of their property. In regard to the 30 ha amendment proposal  I have similar reservations and to the benefit of the change.  Farm Home Plate:  The idea has merit but the existing development of the proposal inadequately takes into the account of the significant
variability of the geography that is found within the existing lots in Coldstream.  Does not recognize the existing settlement plans and the existing location of the buildings on the properties.  This proposal need considerable more thought and analysis to ensure that it is a benefit to Coldstream before it is brought forward for consideration for adoption."

"I am not certain to all of councils understanding of the history of Coldstream and its parcel sizes but from Maria's inference that the original Kidston properties that were just sold and (had appeared to everyone as one farm that were subdivided long ago) were in fact from some of the original lot configurations. These go back to the turn of the century when the Coldstream Ranch (Coldstream Land and Development Company) established various parcel sizes to entice British and European settlers to come to the Okanagan, There have been some changes to various parcels over the past 110 years but not as many as might be indicated by Maria's comment: 'The sad reality is that Coldstream's ALR has already been subdivided into small chunks'.  The ALR has not been subdivided into small chunks, most of these parcels have existed for over a 100 years, To conclude that the Coldstream Agriculture community is suddenly at risk shows a lack of understanding of just how and when the
Coldstream Valley was developed, Most of these CHUNKS were created at the start of Coldstream's history, long before the ALR was even conceived and before most of us had arrived and certainly before we all were born.  In the 60's and 70's several farm parcels were converted to residential development West of McClounie Road that are now home to many residents and some councillors. Residential development is now directed towards the hillsides and away from the valley bottoms that were once developed and now provide sanctuary to those who might otherwise not have found a place to call home, in Coldstream. The remaining farm properties that provide the open green space so desired in Coldstream have existed for a longtime and are not now suddenly threatened with residential subdivision."

"I stand unabashedly opposed to almost every aspect of this plan. I find the information provided
to Coldstream residents by the Coldstream Ratepayers Association to be a grossly oversimplified
explanation of what is a very complex topic, It is unfortunate that this association has the ability to draw the inference that somehow you are not pro agriculture if you are against this OCP. I am frustrated that there appears to be no forum for a rational debate on the long term implications of Zoning Bylaw Amendment No. 1597,2011, or the fact that this Agricultural Plan flies in the face of current world environmental guidelines for the preservation of sustainable agriculture.  RU 10:  In Coldstream it appears that the larger the farm parcel the more likely it is that the parcel is in forage
crop (if it is farmed at all). From a water conservation point of view, forage crop is among the most water intensive crops farmed in the Okanagan. Irrigation of forage crops results in a large percentage of water loss due to evaporation, wind drift, leaks in pipe, and improper rotation of irrigation equipment." Forage crops are extremely reliant on chemical fertilizers and are extremely labour intensive to farm organically.  Drip irrigation systems are ideally suited to the Okanagan climate and function optimally on parcel sizes of one to 5 acres. Limiting the creation of smaller parcels, which will grow less water intensive crops, will result inevitably in the restriction ·of agricultural water to all users or the cost of that water to increase to the point where crops cannot be profitable. If the climate keeps getting drier and the population base keeps increasing you simply cannot keep irrigating forage crops using conventional irrigation methods - we will run out of water.  The David Suzuki Foundation has promoted research by Chappell and Lavalle which showed that 'small farms using alternative agricultural techniques may be two to four times more energy efficient than large conventional farms.' Perhaps most interesting is that they also found studies demonstrating "that small farms almost always produce higher output levels per unit area than larger farms." Volumes of research clearly show that small-scale farming, especially using "organic" methods, is much better in terms of environmental and biodiversity impact:" I take exception to the idea that somehow small plot farming "degrades sustainability. Sustainable agriculture rests only on a willingness to cultivate. Large lot size has no influence on this- or can be a detriment as it is much harder to farm organically. Even when farmed
non-organically, large parcels present problems in terms of finding labour. Owner/operators can often
farm small parcels themselves. It is almost impossible to find local labour willing to work agricultural jobs for minimum wage, leading to the importing of migrant farm workers and all of the attendant social problems that entails.  The National Farmers Union of Ontario has this to say about the rising price of farmland -"A global land-grab is underway, one in which farmland in an increasing number of countries is rapidly passing out of the hands of local farmers and into the hands of distant elites ... In coming decades, if Canadian (and global) farmland is allocated on the basis of "ability to pay," it willnot be allocated to local farm families." Increasing the parcel size of ALR land puts the price of that land far above what the average Canadian can pay. Hence my reference in my email- "This OCP makes it harder for the smaller farmer to find ALR to farm. It does not protect farm land - just the opposite. It just provides the wealthy a chance for estate homes.". Coldstream should strive to be "Rural Living at its Best" for all - not just the 1% that will soon be the only ones able to afford to live here.  RU30:  I believe that sustainable agriculture is only achievable if the more productive farmland pieces are left for agricultural use, and human habitation is on the rocky sloped areas of the valley unsuitable for farming. From China Today March 30, 2012 - "In order to protect both local economic development and the country's shrinking farmland, Yunnan moved industrial construction and fast urbanization to the barren mountains, then governor and now the newly elected Party chief of Yunnan province, Qin Guangrong said. "It is the trend that construction for economic development is being moved to the hills while good arable land is being preserved to be used by the next generations," Seriously - how bad is it that China has a better grasp of environmental policy than we do?  I have read Maria Besso's email of March 29, 2012.  While I have no doubt that this lady is passionate about this OCP, the reality is that she appears to have not done much research on small plot agriculture.
It is also clear that she does not live next to a large scale agricultural operation. I live on Buchanan Road next to the large orchard and down from the gravel pit. I should invite her for coffee sometime during cherry season when the cannons are going off every seven seconds. Maybe If we're lucky, a good breeze will be blowing and she can see what the Dustbowl Years really looked like. Logically, her arguments fail in the following ways:  Market forces determine the optimal utilization of all economic resources. If 77.6% of all ALR land in Coldstream is four hectares or less, this is because the residents of Coldstream have determined that these are the parcels they wish to purchase and this is the way they want to live. The ALC obviously concurred, as otherwise many of these parcels would not exist. The 184 owners of parcels in excess of four hectares should not have to bear the economic burden of providing pastoral views, while the majority of landowners sit on their already subdivided lots.  If, as Ms. Besso states, the ALC for all practical purposes does not approve any subdivision, then Bylaw
Amendment 1597, 2011 is a superfluous piece of unneeded legislation. The ALC is funded by taxpayer
dollars. It appears to be doing the job for which it was created. Why does this council believe it requires an additional layer of bureaucracy to enforce a provincially mandated policy which is seemingly already adequately enforced?  Ms. Besso never once explains the advantages of ten hectare parcels over two hectare parcels from an agricultural point of view. This appears to be the heart of the matter. Without this information, the whole exercise is moot.  There are so many innovative ways to approach this problem.  In South Livermore valley for every acre and housing unit developed within a
specific urban area, one acre of farm or ranch land in a designated rural area must be preserved under
conservation easements and be planted in wine grapes, both at developer expense.  That's pretty
amazing. If you are going to go totalitarian try that. This OCP will affect residents of Coldstream for
years to come. I would appreciate some intelligent debate prior to the third reading - we are a
democracy after all."

"We feel that the ALC has been very diligent in not allowing good farm land to be subdivided. Apparently, many councilors feel that by changing zoning within Coldstream they will save time and money for both staff, council and landowners.  Every landowner has a right to go through the democratic process of applying for their land to be subdivided, whether it is approved or not. In cases such as our own the ALC recognized that the land was not suitable for agriculture and was approved for removal from the AIR.  A better approach for preserving farmland might be to allow future development of the Coldstream hillsides, such as Whisper Ridge, that are not suitable for agriculture. This would allow the people with no intention of farming the opportunity to still live on acreage in Coldstream thus preserving good agricultural land for actual farming.  In every community it is necessary to plan for future growth allowing more revenues to help with ever inereasing costs for infrastructure etc.  Prior to the introduction of the ALR valuable farmland had been used for residential subdivisions, such as, areas around Lavington, Kal School, Kidston School, the municipal offices, etc. More recently the development of Coldstream Estates and Middleton Mountain have taken place. Some would argue that hillsides should not be developed, although extensive studies have concluded that the overall benefits far outweigh the negatives. After the impending nccessary infrastructure upgrades, Buchanan Road would provide pockets of land that would be very suitable for future development. This may also go a long way to completing the Grey Canal trail out to Lavington."

"RU10:  Our property (Remainder Lot 3 Plan 12405) is 15.217ha (37.6 Ac) in size. The ALR portion is 4.02ha (9.96 Ac). which will become RU-10.  The non ALR portion, RU-2 is 11.18ha (27.6SAc). Assuming we can subdivide the ALR land from the non ALR land as pennitted in the ALC regulations, and we can provide access to both the ALR and non ALR land, the proposed zoning change for the ALR land to RU-10 would require us to provide 6.09 ha (15.04 Ac) of non ALR land into the proposed ALR lot.  It is our opinion that where ALR lands are being severed from non ALR lands and permitted by the ALC Regulations, then there should not be a minimum parcel size for those ALR lands.
In reviewing the ALR mapping for Coldstream, our initial overview would indicate that other lands could also be impacted if those lands applied to have their ALR land subdivided from their non ALR lands.  We therefore request that the planning department reassess the minimum lot size under the RU-10 to reflect a smaller lot size when subdividing ALR from non ALR lands.   Home Plate:  In cases where the existing farm home plate is greater than 60m from a road R/W, and farm worker housing is applied for, the 60m should be waived or the Home Plate be expanded to include an area that is
within 60m of a road R/W."

"Land use restrictions by the Provincial Government already exist and form the basis upon which our
property was knowingly purchased, This proposed zoning amendment adds an additional complexity
and layer of restriction and bureaucracy that will impact our potential future use and value of our
property.  (We) object to the proposed zoning amendment. It is not what we want for our property."

"I do not feel the creation of the Coldstream Agricultural Plan will enhance the viability of the agricultural sector. The price of acreages in Coldstream is very expensive; it is hard to justify paying the high cost of land to produce plants or animals. By increasing the size of the land parcels for agricultural production, I feel this will make it that much more difficult for one to get into the farming business. Small acreages may allow people to farm; once a farmer is established they could lease other smaller parcels of land if they want to expand their operation. Small scale farmers have a better chance to sell their products at gate. People from the city will often park cars at the foot of the farming community and walk with their families into the farming areas - they will point out the cows, horses, chickens, fruit, etc. City people would enjoy touring around small acreages more because they would find more diversity.  Farm worker housing may attract transient people which may increase crime rates. I have hired large numbers of farm workers over the past 25 years and a number of these workers had criminal records and substance abuse problems. My best employees generally were those who lived locally in the community.  Would worker housing become run-down and unsightly in 10 or 20 years? Would a farmer be allowed to bring in trailers and call them farm houses? Rather than offering farm worker housing - would it be more prudent to allow a farmer to establish a small area on his farm where transient workers can set up tents? A community shower room, kitchen with a range and refrigerator could be provided by the farmer. The tents would be rolled up at the end of the harvest season and the property would not be untidy; nor would the transient workers linger around.
Rather than allowing Agri-accommodation in Coldstream - it may be worth considering waiting for 5, 10 or 20 years to see how this has worked out in other municipalities.  Agri-accommodation may attract transient people or low income people into our community which may increase the crime rate. Traffic rates would increase, Good agricultural land would be turned into non productive parking areas - these areas may be unattractive, Septic tank systems may be over-taxed.  If our councilors feel the proposed zoning changes are a benefit to the farmers; then maybe a survey should be sent to each bona fide farmer in Coldstream and ask them if they endorse the proposed changes.  Will the new proposed zoning affect farmers positively or negatively? People may have bought their property with a long term objective of achieving financial gains; Will the new bylaw cause a financial loss?  In my opinion, we are going to have difficulty finding people who want to farm in the future. Quite possibly
the average age of farmers in the North Okanagan is over 50 and young people are not interested in taking over.  In all fairness, farming is generally hard work and the financial returns are generally minimum. This could be an opportuuity for the Coldstream farm planning committee to contact the Minister of Agriculture to see if he can initiate a program to share in the cost to hire young people aged 15 to 25 onto farms. Young people would learn basic skills in operating equipment; they would  learn about plant and soil science and animal husbandry.  These people may return to farming later in their life. We could get rid of a lot of underbrush in Kalamalka Provincial Park if we allowed grazing in the park. I feel this would reduce the fire risk in the park."

"I have conducted research...Kamloops Bylaw: Hens are not permitted on properties one acre or less in size. Properties greater than one acre are allowed up to thirty hens. John Wilson of the Kamloops bylaw dept. advised that following extensive debate, council decided that allowing hens on smaller properties would challenge council's ability to deal with complaints.  Kelowna Bylaw: Hens are not permitted on properties one-half acre or less in size. Properties greater than one-half acre are allowed ten hens. Penticton Bylaw: Hens are not permitted on any property not zoned agricultural."
"RU10, RU30:  My suggestion is that the bylaw be restricted to only agricultural land and not change any of the zoning for non ALR land.  The overall initiative to have transition or buffer large lots adjoining crown land is misguided in the light that 95% of BC is crown land and it does not need protection from private land development.  The rezoning from RU 2 to RU 10 and RU 30 is happening why?  -the land owners do not want it; the electorate has not asked for it; the elected representatives have not asked for it?? So what do we have here? Another example of social engineering by our bureaucrats not respecting what their employers want?  The determination of RU10 or RU 30 seems to be based on something other than crown land adjacency. Perhaps who owns the land? Look at the large block above the Gray Canal in 7000 to 8000 Buchanan. It is large, backs on crown land and is RU10. Then look at 6600 Buchanan. Less steep yet all RU 30.  Notice there is apparent bias as to which large properties are to be zoned RU10 and RU 30.  I would suggest that all this very restrictive zoning is not necessary at all. What is needed is common sense development rules for sensitive areas and leave things zoned as they are.  Most progressive communities are utilizing the steeper slopes for residential as a real alternative to building on the ever diminishing agricultural land."

"Dear City of Coldstream:  I really want to get hens cuz they make eggs I would love to see the eggs hatch."

"I would love to have hens...because I could learn about raising hens, would be fun collecting the eggs every morning...I love to eat eggs and this way I know they are clean and fresh."

"I am writing regarding the proposed bylaw change to allow hens in areas zoned as residential. I am in favour of this change for a number of reasons. As a parent of young children, I believe keeping hens would be beneficial to my family. I would like to have access to eggs that I know have been produced in a clean, medication free and pesticide free manner. We produce many of our own vegetables for this
same reason. I would also like my children to learn about food production including the care and maintenance of animals.  I have visited a number of homes with hens and discussed keeping hens with a number of people in Coldstream, Vernon and in communities that allow urban hens as I was concerned about how labour intensive they may be, and the impact (smell or noise) they may have on our community. I have been pleased by the amount of time needed to manage hens and how innocuous they are."

"RU.2 to RU30. The major concern is that RU30 does not allow B&Bs. This lot is Situated in a great location for a B&B. Becker and Bardoff lakes close by, dirtbike races held up there frequently, and hiking trails out at the back door. Vernon and I need tourism.  I have been enjoying the back country there for over 15 years, and have spent countless hours maintaining trails and picking up after people's litter."

"Concerns that the Bylaw will negatively impact our farm. As the Bylaw is written, our property is already non-conforming:  At about 9 acres in size, our farm lot is already smaller than the minimum lot size (10 ha, 24.71 acres).  The residential house and yard area (so-called "Farm Home Plate") is located much further off Coldstream Creek Road than the bylaw maximum 60 metres.  As such, when it comes time to rebuild our house, if we are required to conform with the bylaw as written, it would entail moving the Farm Home Plate to the upper pasture. This would clearly be counter to the intent of the Farm Home Plate Regulation, which is to 'minimize the impact of non-farm land uses on an agricultural parcel and to encourage sustainable farming practices.' By moving the Farm Home Plate to our upper pasture would take about one more acre of currently farm use pasture out of agricultural use, and render the previous house plot location useless (it is not located where it is conducive to agricultural operations.. that's why the original owners built the house there in the first place over 80
years ago!!!).  The proposed bylaw makes provision for application for a Development Variance Permit, which could possibly allow relaxation from the above concern. However, I strongly object to a process by which we would have to apply for a variance permit to allow use of our family property in a
manner consistent with the historical use of the property all along. As long standing homeowners
on our own farm land, we should not have to apply, hat in hand, to the Coldstream Council for
permission to use our own property, (as a farm, I might add in a manner which is already consistent with the intent of minimizing the impact of non-farm land use.  I am concerned that the bylaw is written without any consideration that different properties have different layouts and will be impacted differently by this bylaw. The bylaw implicitly assumes that all land on a farm lot is suitable for farm use. This assumption is wrong!!  For example, the very definition of "Farm Home Plate" is flawed. In the definition, all non agricultural use area on the farm lot is defined as being part ofthe "Farm
Home Plate" area.  If you take our farm lot as an example, at least 2-3 acres of the lot are not
suitable for agriculture. This land is comprised of steep gullies, ridge above the lower pasture, steep treed land on the north side, unsuitable for crops or grazing and the creek bed itself. So, our Farm Home Plate, by the definition of the bylaw, is already 2-3 acres in size, before even providing
for any residential buildings.  So, by the definition of Farm Home Plate, if our farm, as an example was a farm lot starting from scratch, it would have already exceeded the maximum Farm Home Plate size of 3600 square metres [0.36 hectares, or 0.89 acres) before even considering building a residence.

The bylaw, by restricting the location of the Home Plate Area to within 60 metres of the road, implicity assumes that on all farm lots this particular location (within 60 metres of the read) will minimize the impact of non farm use. This assumption is ludicrous; it makes no provision for the actual lay of the land on a particular lot where the land within 60 metres of a road may in fact be the best agricultural land on the whole lot. To force the Farm Home Plate area onto this area would then make the impact of non farm use more severe. Again, our farm lot is a perfect example of this. There are way more such situations in the Coldstream area where the land within 60 metres of the road are prime agricultural land, and there are many much more suitable locations for the Farm Home Plate .... locations which
would take much less land out of Farm use.  I am concerned that for a land owner to implement legitimate development designs, which would maximize the use of farm use land, if they violate the  arbitrary constraints (eg. 60 metre location) of this bylaw, will then be subject to a bureaucratic and uncertain process of application to the Coldstream Council for approval of a variance. I find this
concept to be highly objectionable, overly bureaucratic and possibly unconstitutional.  I am concerned that the Bylaw (803:2) restricts the number of buildings on a lot.   The wording is sloppy and can be interpreted to prevent construction of any barns or other farm buildings.  I am concerned that the bylaw interferes with personal freedoms and rights. For example, the bylaw restricts the operation of a B&B on a farm lot to an operation run by an onsite registered landowner. This effectively eliminates the possibility of the landowner leasing the property to a legitimate B&B operator. I find this to be highly objectionable, as a landowner must have the right to use his property (in a legal fashion) regardless whether it is by an ownership or a lease arrangement. If an end-use of the property is permitted for an owner, it must also be permitted for a lessee; otherwise it is discrimination.  As a Coldstream owner concerned with maintaining the agricultural use objectives of the community, as outlined in the Agricultural Area Plan, I am concerned that several facets of the bylaw will end up having the opposite effect of that intended; It will force good agricultural land out of agricultural use, and will serve to downgrade the overall agricultural character of the Coldstream Municipality.  I am concerned that the bylaws themselves and the process of implementing them are counter to the spirit, intent and wording of the Official Community Plan. While the process does indeed include a public hearing, I am concerned that information presented at a public hearing will not be adequately considered by Council and that a public hearing process itself, when applied to implementation of important bylaws, does not adequately serve the objective of meeting the needs of Coldstream residents as outlined in the OCP,  The AAC was established to input to the Agricultural Area Plan with the intention of terminating or disbanding upon completion of the plan. I am concerned that the good works of that committee and the knowledge/expertise developed and brought to bear on many agricultural issues has now been lost. It would be very useful to strike a similar ad hoc committee (with continuity to the AAC) to assist with the implementation of the Plan, rather than to leave it to Council.  As a concerned long term Coldstreamite, and Coldstream taxpayer request that:  A provision be written into the bylaw that explicitly exempts existing RU.1O lots from the provisions of the bylaw.  Such a "grandfather" clause would allow continuation of existing farm use developments as they
are currently developed (and have been for years) without being in contravention of the bylaw and without being subject to future approval processes by Council.  Coldstream Council give serious consideration to the overall wisdom of implementing this bylaw as written. It has many fatal flaws, in my opinion, and will have the opposite effect of that intended, particularly vis a vis the Farm Home Plate provisions.  Coldstream Council be open to a process of significant revisions to the Bylaw to allow it to conform with the original intent.  Coldstream Council consider creating a another (continuing) Agricultural Advisory Committee to assist with the implementation of the Agricultural Area Plan. Such a committee could be invaluable in preparing Bylaw legislation such as the Proposed Bylaw."

"Home Plate:  The HP provisions were discussed in detail at the Ag Advisory Committee meetings. It was recognized that there would be instances where the topography or other characteristics of particular properties would dictate exceptions to the HP rules, but these exceptions could be covered by Variance Applications.   I hadn't realized, or had forgotten, that Valiance Applications would require public hearings and could open the applicant to requirements for off-site work (as if it was a subdivision). I certainly don't think that a demand for off-site work would be acceptable in these circumstances. It has become clear that there are many existing homes in Coldstream which would not meet the new HP provisions. In fact it is likely that the majority of homes built on agricultural land before 1950 or so were built too far from the nearest road. (One reason for this large setback was to escape the dust from the roads). Of course such homes would not be required to conform to the new provisions, but what would happen if an addition or other change was desired, or if one burned down and was to be replaced?  After further thought I have come to question the need for the HP provisions, at least in their present form."

"Economic Viability of Agriculture - One reason suggested for the change is that larger lot sizes will make the agriculture of Coldstream more economically viable. It is my view based on observation and experience with many situations over the years that economic viability is not a function of lot size but of soil type, wisdom innovation effort and accomplishment of the farm operator, climate, type of crop, marketing, market channels and so on. This is not a valid reason for change in lot size.  Price of land:  Price of Land - It was suggested that the price of land in Coldstream is too high in relation to other areas and the reason for this is that the lot sizes are too small. I disagree with this. The price of land is determined by supply and demand and especially in relation to other areas. The Coldstream Valley is a very nice area to live, it is well organized and maintained. Our forefathers did a wonderful job of organizing and planning the area and we would all prefer to live here rather than somewhere else such that we are prepared to pay more for our land here than somewhere else. (We) paid a substantial premium for our property when we acquired it in the mid 1980's: We purchased the property based on valuations and zoning rules in effect at the time. Changes to the zoning rules will result in changes to the valuations of all the farm properties in Coldstream and will harm the estates of many people.  Water - it was mentioned that there are people in our community who are concerned about "hobby farms" and the allocation of agricultural water that they have. It must be pointed out to those people whoever they are that all these properties have a water allocation going back into the history of the
Coldstream Ranch when it subdivided the lands in the western part of Coldstream into 10,20, 30 and 40 acre lots etc back in the early 1900's, the VID and its open ditch system until the late 1960's and then the underground pressurized system from the early 1970's onward. These agricultural water
allocations form part of the rights of the land and any attempts to take the agricultural water away will have huge legal implications.  Hobby farms:  the background report does not give much recognition to the hobby farms in Coldstream whereas in actual fact most of the agricultural land in

Coldstream apart from the Coldstream Ranch, the Palfrey dairy operation, the Kidston orchards, a couple of nurseries ard the Lavington Turf farm are hobby farms. Hobby farms in my view are an very important part of the culture of the North Okanagan and especially Coldstream and are a good thing. The hobby farmers support the local economy in a significant way, produce a significant amount of various types of produce and they are preserving the land for agricultural purposes for future generations.  Non-conforming: we are not supportive of changing the zoning on the agricultural lots and making all of our lots non-conforming just because there is risk that the owner of one or two properties may request to subdivide.  This term in itself has negative connotations which has many implications to many people.   Farm Plate rules:  Delta - We were advised that this model was suggested based on the experience in Delta. As you are aware the Fraser Delta in the lower mainland has a huge area of flat land that is mainly of the highest value of agricultural soil.  This model does not have applicability in our area for many reasons.  Coldstream ... we are a comparably very small area with a wide range of topography and soil types. If the home plate rules are imposed it will result in exactly the opposite of the stated intention and will mean homes will be built on the best of agriculture land rather than poorer land that exists on another part of the lot.  Subdivisions in the ALR:  It is my understanding that the ALC will not allow any subdivisions of land in the ALR for any reason other than a legitimate "homesite severance."  In our discussions you indicated that the above was the case and the ALC have stated that they don't want any subdivision proposals being forwarded to them any more. We are fine with this and Coldstream's policy of not allowing any subdivisions of farmland. This policy can continue without the zoning changes.  Trophy homes:  One concern expressed by you was the risk of more trophy homes being built in Coldstream. In my view larger good quality homes are a good thing and an asset to our community.  They add value to our entire community and enhance the tax base, These people tend to look after their properties well and they add to the asthestics of the area.  These people spend a lot of money in our community and add to the economic well being of the area."

"I am concerned with this latest Proposed Zoning Bylaw Amendment No. 1597,2011 would be an understatement.  There are many issues in this amendment that are both wrong and an insult to our fathers and forefathers who settled in the Coldstream. For brevity sake I wiIl address only a couple of these issues in this letter.  I have no issue with minimum lot size, but I have many issues with the rezoning of the vast majority of the existing acreages which would make us nonconforming and the unintended consequences this embodies. I can only hope they are unintended as the collateral damage could well decimate the land values in the Coldstream and do nothing to further agriculture.  The rational of the home plate issue which restricts the positioning of the home plate totally escapes me.
This was either never thought out or was designed for a farm community with different crops, road access,size of agricultural plots, drainage, yearly precipitation and I could go on. If my house were to burn down and I were to rebuild, 1 would have to place my home plate exactly in the middle of the only piece of agricultural land I have.  For this reason, the home plate location must be site specific. The majority of homes built along Coldstream Creek Road were built by our forefathers along the bank to maximize the productive land taking into account both grade and drainage. Now, this proposal contemplates the basics which were developed for Delta, B.C. where the application for agriculture is so different from ours it is not even comparable...everyone I have communicated
with regarding this matter is adamantly opposed to this proposal."

"We are both strongly opposed to this rezoning as ,it will cause undue hardship ... and have a detrimental effect on the future use of the property.  This property is not part of the hillside but rather belongs to an old subdivision...on the flats with a number of small acreage lots formerly owned by the Bunting family.  As pointed out, to include this lot in the RU30 zone was probably an oversight as it makes no sense in changing the zoning, especially since it is a smaller parcel than the minimum in either zone.  There are two major problems with the rezoning...Firstly that the Disclosure Statement
would need to be changed and re-filed with the Superintendent of Real Estate at a significant cost
and secondly that the RU30 zoning excludes B & B which is included in the current RU2 zone.  (The buyer) who has the option is interested in opening a B &. B as this property is at the beginning of the forestry road accessing a vast and popular back country area used for snowmobiling in the winter and 'off road vehicles in the summer.  It would therefore be ideal for a B & B."

"It appears to be legislating, if you can use that term, the OCP which was not done before.  You were here in 1998?  Why would these numbers be included in the OCP? i.e~ the 24 and 74 acres·? And
why has it taken so long to enact a bylaw with respect to that direction?  Since 1998, land values have increased and the RU2 at Coldstrearn Ranch is now of significant value.  It seems that a "development" could do very well on those 300 or so acres.  And, if the goal was to protect agricultural land how is it that this large parcel escaped? ...How does limiting subdivision on private non-agricultural land benefit the community?  I see numerous penalties to landowners in Coldstream through these actions.  Decreased tax base especially on 75 acres of  non-subdividable land.  There's
a lot aged parents that could be housed on that amount of land.  In Vancouver, you can put a granny house on your 33ft lot and look after her.  This decreases the cost of longterm care, hospitalization, and a bunch of other things (of course, in Vancouver, you've been allowed to have chickens in the city for years.  There is a loss in tax revenue that can only be made up for in increased taxes to the existing residents.  With all the new building "development" projects such as the paths and what-not, who is going to pay for upkeep and maintenance?  Decreased land values:  I object to my property (and we have 3 now in Coldstream) being subject to these restrictions.  No one is going to pay any money for 74 acres if they can't put a second house on it.  That's a huge piece of property.  The District has already heard of concerns of property values and loss of sales from realtors and this will only continue.  How many acres does one need to make a living in agriculture?  Who is going to pay money to take on an agricultural parcel of 25 acres if they can't make a living at it?  You can supplement food security on much smaller parcels because they are manageable by families.  All this is doing is encouraging monoculture, and there's no food security in that.  How are we going to attract business to the Lavington Glass Plant if there are no new lots for people to build on?  They aren't going to be buying 25 or 75 acres when they have a full-time job.  This initiative is a slap in the face to private property rights as well as saying "Coldstream is Closed", closed to businesses, families, extended families, etc." 

"I would like to voice my concerns once again with regards to the the above bylaw, and to lend
my support to those against this asinine change.  The very idea that all small farms in the Coldstream, less than 25 acres, will be classified as nonconforming lots that require a variance to build even a chicken coop is ridiculous. If this bylaw is to pass and I am unfortunate enough to suffer a house fire, your new bylaw says that I could no longer build my house in the only location that makes good use of the farm land. I would then have to build within 60 meters of Highway 6, this would put my house in the middle of a field that is in use for agriculture. It would also place my house at the lowest point on the property which tends to flood every Spring.  The idea of strict set backs without the foresight to see how this may break up the land is completely and utterly ridiculous. I have no problem with the restrictions on the subdivision of land as I believe it is important to protect our farm land. However, to make all lots like the one you grew up on, non-conforming lots (based on a study completed at the lower mainland) is ill thought out and completely insulting to the previous generation of farmers (who, like your father saw themselves as stewards of the land). These old properties in almost all cases have
had the buildings placed in locations that would maximize the useable farm land based on common sense, not on a cookie cutter plan that states that you must build near the road (which may result in a house in the middle of the only usable land), The study that the municipafity is using for this bylaw was obviously not completed for a narrow valley like ours. When dealing with the topography of a narrow valley with a creek in the bottom, the placement of homes and buildings can not be standard unless the municipality cares not for the land but for ease of sewer pipes etc .."

Now for the bureaucratic summary (sanitized) version:

As per the direction provided by Council, an Open House was held on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. Staff mailed 628 invitations to the Open House to owners of property over 2 acres in size within the Distriet of Coldstream. The focus of the Open House was to provide information about proposed Bylaw No. 1597, 2011 (i.e. RU.I0 & RU.30 Zoning Amendment) and the previously approved Official Community Plan (OCP) Amendment Bylaw No. 1584,2011 and Coldstream Agricultural Plan.

Comment sheets were provided to people who attended the Open House. All the information available at the Open House was available on the District of Coldstream website and for pick-up at the Municipal Hall. A deadline of March 28, 2012 was established as the cut-off for receiving input on proposed Amendment Bylaw. The Open House was very well attended. Staff estimate that more than one hundred people came
over the course of the evening. A substantial amount of feedback has been received and reviewed by staff: 14 comment sheets were completed online, 24 forms were completed in hard copy, and another 24 letters were received, for a total of 62 responses (+34 signatures). It should be noted that many of the responses were extremely well thought out and detailed. It is evident that several residents/owners put in a great deal of time, energy and thought in responding.

Open House Comments/Themes
The following section provides a synopsis of the feedback received from landowners within the District of Coldstream.

Secondary Suites in all Rural Zones:
With regard to allowing secondary suites in all rural zones, the response was as follows: of the 32 comments received on the topic, 30 were in support (i.e. 94 %) and 2 were in opposition (6%).

Those in support of secondary suites in all rural zones cited the following reasons:
.• Would be an asset and possibly increase the tax base
• Will help to ensure building codes are being met

Those in opposition to secondary suites in all rural zones cited the following reasons:
• Attracts transients and degrades the quality of communities

The following suggestions were made for secondary suites in all rural zones:
• must be made legal and consider neighbourhood values (i.e. quiet, have adequate parking, traffic, suitable safety standards, especially fire egress)
• should be allowed in all areas
• should be an integral part of the house and not an additional structure
• should be taxed appropriately and the monies used to ensure ongoing compliance and safety standards
• should be limited dependent upon sufficient services and existing infrastructure.
• houses with suites should be owner occupied

Urban Agriculture: (up to 4 hens in residential areas)

With respect to allowing hens in residential areas, the response was as follows: of the 71 comments received on the topic, 22 were in favour (i.e. 31 %) and 49 were opposed (68%). Of the 49 opposed to hens in residential areas, 34 were in the form of a signature attached to a letter (see attached petition ED NOTE; not attached to blog).

Those in support of urban hens cited the following reasons:
• Provides an opportunity for children/families to learn about food production, the care and maintenance of animals, and rewards (i.e. eggs)
• Provides clean, fresh, and medication and pesticide free eggs

Those in opposition to urban hens cited the following reasons:
• incompatible with the expectations and rights of the residents (i.e. peace, quiet and health) .
• attract rodents, flies, and disease
• cause obnoxious smells
• in order to produce free range eggs, hens require access to open green area which is in conflict "'with the bylaw (i.e. to be enclosed)
• attract wildlife/predators (i.e. coyotes) and may led to dangerous encounters between coyotes and humans (i.e. small children)
• issue of disposing of manure (where and how)

The following suggestion was made for Urban Agriculture:
• should have strict guidelines in place about cleanliness

RU2 Zone
The Open House comment sheet asked respondents to comment on the farm worker housing and requirement for a housing agreement. The responses provided were not as "cut and dry" as those provided for secondary suites and urban hens. Most of the responses highlighted issues or concerns rather than stating for or against. It appears that more people were opposed to the requirement for a housing agreement (see attached spreadsheet  ED NOTE: not attached to blog) .

Those in support of the proposed RU.2 zoning change cited the following reasons:
• to avoid farm working housing becoming rental suites

Those in opposition to the proposed RU.2 zoning change cited the following reasons:
• restrictions are too rigid
• the Agricultural Land Commission already has guideIines in place
• farm worker housing is too easy to turn into residential housing in the future
• adds more bureaucracy and cuts the size of the farm worker building in half

The following suggestions were made for the proposed RU2 zoning changes:
• bunkhouse type of housing would be the most practical.

RU10 Zone:
The Open House comment sheet asked respondents to comment on lot area, the farm home plate, and farm worker housing. In general, responses to the proposed RU.1 0 zone are as follows: of the 43 comments received on the topic, 14 were in favour (i.e. 33 %) and 29 were opposed (67 %).

Those in support of the proposed RU.l 0 zone cited the following reasons:
• Attempts to stop our valuable agricultural land from being subdivided and used up by large homes
• Support retaining large parcels that are viable farm lands within the ALR

Those in opposition to the proposed RD.1 0 zone cited the following reasons:
Lot Area
• Concern about non-conformity with respect to lot size and permitted uses.  Staff note: a legal opinion received by the District of Coldstream indicates that the proposed change to the minimum lot size does not make properties non-conforming, as the provision applies to properties proposed to be subdivided.
• Changing lot sizes would not have any bearing on the viability of agricultural products grown in the area
• Changes to zoning will impact the value of farm properties and affect the estate planning of many people (i.e. future subdivision potential for family)
• The zoning changes are redundant because the ALC does not allow subdivisions in the ALR (with the exception of homesite severances)
• Larger parcel sizes make it harder for the small farmers to get into farming (i.e. cost of land).
• Does not address subdivision of non-ALR land from ALR land, as permitted under the ALC regulations
• The importance of hobby farms/small plot fanning has been overlooked. It appears that the larger the farm parcel the more likely it is that the parcel is in forage crop. Forage crop is among the most water intensive crops farmed in the Okanagan. Drip irrigation systems are ideally suited to the Okanagan climate and function optimally on parcel sizes of one to 5 acres. Limiting the creation of smaller parcels, which will grow less water intensive crops, will result inevitably in the restrictIon of agricultural water to all users or the cost of that water to increase to the point where crops caunot be profitable. "Small farms using alternative agricultural techniques may be two to four times more energy efficient than large conventional farms" "small farms almost always produce higher output levels per unit area than .larger farms". Small-scale farming, especially using organic methods, is much better in terms of environmental and biodiversity impact. Large lot size can be a detriment as it is much harder to farm organically. Even when farmed non-organically, large parcels present problems
in terms of finding labour.
• What is the benefit of 10 ha parcels over 2 ha parcels from an agricultural point of view?
• Will prevent rural property owners from subdividing and staying on the property (i.e, aging in place). The longer people can stay in their home, the less impact on the health care system.
• Excessive regulations.

Farm Home Plate
• Many existing homes in Coldstream would not meet the home plate provisions. Concern that if an existing house burned down,  it would not be able to be located in the same place, but made to fit within the home plate and in some cases on the best quality agricultural land.
• By limiting the home plate area to within 60m of the road, it is assumed that this location would minimize the impact of non-farm use. The home plate regulations do not take into account the significant variability of the geography that is found within existing lots and does not recognize the existing settlement patterns and
location of buildings on the properties.
• Objections to the requirement for a variance to the home plate provisions in order to use a family property in a manner consistent with the historical use of the property (e.g. renovations to an existing farm house)
• Larger good quality homes (i.e. trophy homes) add value to the community (i.e. enhance thc tax base, aesthetically pleasing, spend money in the area)
• Too restrictive (i.e. setbacks and area)

Farm Worker Housing
• May attract transient people and increase crime rates. Would worker housing become run-down and unsightly in a 10-20 years? Would a farmer be allowed to bring in trailers for farm worker housing?

The following suggestions were made for the RUl 0 Zone:
• Farm home plate - a "grandfather clause" should be written into the bylaw to allow the continuation of existing farm uses, without being in contravention of the bylaw and without being subject to future approval processes by Council.
• Farm home plate regulations must be site specific, taking into account grade, drainage, etc.
• A variance application for the home plate provisions should not have any requirements for off-site works and services attached to it
• In cases where the existing farm home plate is greater than 60m from a road, and farm worker housing is applied for, the 60m should be waived or the home plate expanded to include an area that is within 60m of a road
• The minimum lot size under the RU.l 0 should be reassessed to reflect a smaller lot size when subdividing ALR from non ALR lands
• The AAC (or similar committee) should be struck to assist with the implementation of the Agricultural Plan
• A better approach for preserving farmland might be to allow future development of the Coldstream hillsides, such as Whisper Ridge, that are not suitable for agriculture
• Review some of the planning decisions from Monterey County of South Livermore Valley California.

RU.30 Zone
The Open House comment sheet asked respondents to comment on lot area and the omission of some permitted uses (i.e. bed and breakfast, boarding house, community care facilities). Responses to the proposed RU.30 zone are as follows: of the 33 Comments received on the topic, 5 were in favour (i.e. 15 %) and 28 were opposed (85 %). Keep in mind some were only opposed to the removal of Bed and Breakfasts and Community Care Facilities rather than an increase in the parcel size.

No specific reasons were cited by those in support of the proposed RU.30 zone.
Those in opposition to the proposed RU30 zone cited the following reasons:
Lot Area
• Decreased land values and a loss of equity due to inability to subdivide or place a second house (e.g. a granny suite for aging parents)
• Decreased tax base due to inability to subdivide
• Will be difficult to attract business if new lots are not available for people to build on
• Opposition to rezoning of any lands other than the agricultural land
• The steeper slopes, unsuitable for farming, should be used for residential development and the productive farmland should be left for agricultural use
• The farm home plate does not make sense in the RU.30 Zone (i.e. non-ALR land)

Omitted Uses
• Opposition to the removal of Bed & Breakfasts and Community Care Facilities as permitted uses

Responses to the Open House Comment Sheet highlighted key concerns from respondents.
• Respondents are overwhelmingly in support of permitting secondary suites in all rural areas.
• One third of respondents are in support of allowing hens in residential areas, while the other two thirds are opposed stating concerns about potential noise, smell, health and safety.
• With respect to changes to the RU.2 Zone, most appear supportive of farm worker housing in general but opposed to the additional requirement for a housing agreement.
• In general, approximately two thirds are opposed to the proposed new RU.10 Zone, with the remaining one third in support of the changes. With respect to lot area, the major concerns revolve around potential non-conformity, devaluation of property, and impacts on estate planning. The need for rezoning was questioned given the ALC's jurisdiction and consistent rejection of subdivision applications.

Several stated that the importance of "hobby farms" has been overlooked. While some felt that the farm home plate regulations have merit, most think they are flawed because many existing homes would not comply and an exemption for such homes has not been provided. Further, the home plate regulations do not take into account the property-specific characteristics of the land.
• Respondents are overwhelmingly opposed to the rezoning of RU.2 zoned lands, not in the ALR, to RU.30. Many felt that the lands (i.e. the hillsides) should be used for residential development to help alleviate the pressure for development on ALR lands.

Several suggestions were put forth to help improve proposed bylaw. 

"I prefer the residents' version," offers Kia, adding "just as I prefer the public-taken minutes of Council and CoW meetings to those 'adopted' by Council."

So do the rest of us!

Because people's comments actually "say something".
Adopted Minutes are just all smoke-n-mirrors.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Coldstream Acreage Owners send Council a letter

Council now wants questions received in a written format.

The 37-member Coldstream Acreage Owners' Association has questions concerning Coldstream's proposed Ag Plan.

May 1, 2012

Mayor and Council
District of Coldstream
Kal Lake Road
Coldstream, BC

For distribution to Council and Agricultural Committee (Agricultural Ad Hoc) Members: Dr. Lois Philp, Doug Stevenson, Mike McMorran, Perrin Hayes, Paul Christie, Ted Osborn

Dear Mayor, Councillors, and Agricultural Committee Members,

The Coldstream Acreage Owners’ Association, comprising ~500+ acres in Coldstream, is deeply concerned about the impact of the proposed re-zoning of property in Coldstream under this council’s new re-zoning initiative. We wish to ask council, in the required written format, the following questions:

1. Has council considered the tax implications of re-zoning property in Coldstream? What are council’s plans to deal with these implications, specifically,

If no additional taxpayers can be added through the subdivision of land how does council see managing the increased debt for the community (from approximately $100,000.00 to more than $6 million dollars to date). In light of the Antwerp Springs fines, twinning of the water lines (estimated up to $147 million calculated by Councillor Kiss), plus various other projects, Coldstream Acreage Owners (CAO) are concerned that the only solution will be to raise taxes rather than add new taxpayers.

2. Has council considered the business implications of re-zoning rural lands in Coldstream?  What will Council do to encourage business investment in this community?

Any business that is considering Coldstream for their operations will be discouraged from locating here as there will be fewer opportunities for a variety of employee housing. It is unclear what the impact will be on potential new businesses and families.

3. How does Council see limiting the use of both agricultural and non-agricultural property by re-zoning?

The impetus for this re-zoning plan appears to be that council thinks that by re-zoning private property in Coldstream, agriculture will be protected. Or, is this an attempt by council to stop what has often been referred to pejoratively as “trophy” or “manor” houses on both ALR and non-ALR designated property in Coldstream?

Global studies prove that small parcel farming contributes to food security and keeps families attached to, and intact on, their lands. By forcing people to “farm” 24.7 acres, does this council think that farmers can make a viable living? We have greater than 500 acres owned by CAOs that disprove that anyone can make a living on 24.7 acres without additional income. This places a financial and social burden on some people in the community to maintain the “idea” of a farm.

As for stopping the building of “trophy/manor” houses the Local Government Act does not legislate house size and style in this manner. So-called “trophy” houses, might be houses that have a certain square footage (“footprint”), but these are called “complex” buildings and are defined and regulated the Building and Plumbing Bylaw (1442). There is an argument that the home plate model places unfair, unsafe, and onerous burdens on acreage owners with no quantified benefit to them.

4. Has council considered the impact on real estate values by this re-zoning?

It is possible that the re-zoning of acreages in Coldstream will devalue farmland and non-agricultural land. While some individuals may benefit by increasing their holdings as land becomes more affordable, this does not benefit the CAOs who invested their money in their land under the current zoning. The re-zoning bylaw creates a market of 20+ acres that cannot be subdivided and therefore must be managed as farmland (typically the solution is hay as 20+ acres is difficult for one family to farm and not large enough to create a viable living). How will a new young generation be able to become farmers if there are no smaller parcels available (20-74 acre parcels are beyond the reach of most people’s financial ability)? In addition, some of the most intensive and productive farmlands have high value crops in greenhouses that do not require large tracts of property. Smaller holdings have this potential. Has this been considered in Council’s deliberations?

It has also suggested that agritourism is a goal for this council. Agritourism consists of motor home parks and viewing smallscale agriculture as tourist opportunities. However visitors who come to Coldstream do so to admire the lake and the park and contribute little to the economy of the community, short of buying fuel for their vehicles and boats. Does council have information about small scale agritourism studies that quantify the benefit of this option taking into consideration the size and uniqueness of the Coldstream community?

5. What are the benefits to the taxpayers of Coldstream of this re-zoning?

Does council have data to suggest a benefit to all residents of Coldstream, or is this re-zoning for the benefit of some, and how do you quantify and qualify that benefit?

6.  Will council ensure that every property owner be contacted directly by mail to inform them of the pending re-zoning? 

It has come to our attention during the formation of our Association that the majority of people in Coldstream did not see the newspaper notice regarding the re-zoning proposal. The Agricultural Plan Open House on March 14, 2012, had 100 people attend over two hours. Of the approximately 10,000 taxpayers in this District, this attendance record proves that people have not been advised so as to make informed decisions. The current configuration of lands in Coldstream has been in place for the better part for two generations. This re-zoning removes property rights, devalue some properties, constrains decisions about outbuildings, barns, employee accommodations, etc., and severely limits growth, not what people bought into when they purchased land. This re-zoning many not merely “manage” land use in Coldstream as may have been intended.

Vibrant, healthy communities have managed growth and encourage responsible growth. How does this council intend to mitigate limitations that they will put on growth (“stymied” versus “managed”) through re-zoning in Coldstream?

7. Council is saying that bona fide farmers are the only ones who will get farm water. Who is paying for the water allocation and meter, irrigation pipes/sprinkers/emitters for the demonstration garden at the college demonstration garden initiative?

The demonstration garden at the Okanagan University College site needs $2,500 for seed and $10,000 for a coordinator next year. And, since no new water allocations are available unless people are bona fide farmers, which group of farmers has given up their water so that the College’s demonstration garden can have water? Are Coldstream taxpayers going to be contributing for annual seeds, coordinators, and water for this latest initiative?

8. Is council aware that this RU10 and RU30 re-zoning removes the right of access that all landowners have to the decision-making authority and adjudicators at the Agricultural Land Commission?

The only exception to this fact would be the second or third largest landowners in Coldstream who, under the new re-zoning would be able to subdivide and thus potentially have access to the Commission. The Agricultural Land Commission has always been the final authority on agricultural land. For those homeowners who are over 55 and cannot make a living here, the option is to defer taxes on their properties. While this may appear to have no impact for this council’s budgets, it does place burden on the province in transfers. If an increasing number of subsistence farmers defer their taxes in British Columbia, how does this council perceive the province will respond?

We request a letter of reply be sent to our Association members (listed below on the original).

Respectfully submitted,