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PUBLIC HEARINGS 101

Public Hearings

A public hearing is the official opportunity for Mayor and Council to hear from the community about a potential building or change to a building that would require the land to have a different zoning (designation) OR when the municipality wants to adopt an Official Community Plan (a map of all the zonings for all the land in the community)

Illustration of city councillor with hand to ear listening

All persons who believe that their interest in property is affected by the proposed rezoning bylaw must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard or to present written submissions respecting matters contained in the bylaw that is the subject of the hearing.

 

Currently, public hearings are required under the Local Government Act in BC and can only be waived when an application for development meets the pre-approved zoning in the Official Community Plan.

Illustration of neighbourhood with apartment building and four houses of different sizes

EXAMPLES

  • A single lot is zoned for one home (single family) and needs to be rezoned for multiple homes (multifamily)

  • A piece of land zoned (designated) for commercial use (to have a business) needs to be re-zoned to include businesses with homes above (multi use)

  • A municipality creates or revises its Official Community Plan (a plan that outlines lot by lot what type of building is allowed)

To learn more about how to participate in a public hearing in your community, go to your municipality’s website and search for ‘how to speak to council’

What to Expect

  • The community is notified

  • People can start sending emails and letters to mayor and council

  • People can start signing up to delegate at the hearing (speak to council)

Mayor and council are expected to come to a public hearing with an open mind and listen for information to help them make a final decision about the rezoning of the land.

Illustration of microphone
  • The Mayor (or designated chair) will explain the proceedings at the beginning of the meeting

  • There is a time limit for delegates to speak

  • You may be asked for your full name and what municipality you live in

  • Mayor or council may ask clarifying questions if needed.

Once all speakers have been heard, and a motion to receive correspondence is made, council may deliberate the project and ask clarifying questions of staff or the applicant.

Members of the council may have to recuse themselves if they can financially benefit from the approval of the application OR if they have a known bias about the project.

The request to rezone is either approved or denied by adopting or defeating the motion.

  • A motion is made and passed to close the public hearing.

  • Council will make a motion to move to Second and Third Reading of the bylaw (change in zoning)

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