Close part of First Avenue to traffic and ‘pedestrianize’ it. Facilitate RV parking. Develop a year-round public market downtown. Ask downtown businesses to encourage employees to ride-share.
Those are just some of the ideas residents offered during an Ideas Café hosted by the Town of Ladysmith and its consultants Oct. 20.
As part of the first phase of a process to update the town’s zoning bylaw, residents had a chance to look over information and leave feedback during the open house.
The current zoning bylaw was adopted in 1997. The town adopted its Official Community Plan (OCP) in 2003, and planner Lisa Brinkman says municipalities generally create a zoning bylaw to help implement the broader objectives of the OCP.
“The zoning bylaw is a tool to implement the OCP and visioning,” she explained. “Some of the things we can achieve with zoning are development and housing; it regulates how land can be used and can be developed.”
The zoning bylaw looks at issues such as landscaping, parking, the form and character of a building and the permitted use for buildings.
Brinkman describes this first phase of the zoning bylaw update process as taking the pulse of the community.
“We do have the OCP and visioning, so in one sense, we do have the pulse of the community, so it’s just touching base and asking about those more specific things that zoning tackles,” she said.
Brinkman sees this process as an opportunity to potentially create more housing options and improve the process for businesses coming into town.
The town’s consultants will now take all the information they gathered at the Ideas Café and do a closer review of the existing bylaw to come up with a draft zoning bylaw.
Throughout the winter, there will be a technical analysis of the existing zoning bylaws and development permit area guidelines, as well as workshops with staff and council.
Phase 3 will include drafting a new zoning bylaw this spring, review by staff and the town’s Advisory Design Panel, a stakeholder committee workshop and a second community open house. The town expects to finalize the updated zoning bylaw and go to the public hearing stage in the summer.
Information about the update can be found online.