Official Community Planning Process
The Town of Comox Official Community Plan
The Official Community Plan (OCP) is one of the Town’s most important documents and is essential to planning for future growth and development within Comox. It establishes community objectives and broad policy statements to guide Council’s decisions about land use, zoning and development. It sets forth a 20 year vision for the Town that includes the approximate location, type and density of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional development. The OCP also includes policies related to social needs, environmental protection and affordable housing.
In 2009 the Town of Comox launched a comprehensive process to develop a new Official Community Plan. The Town worked with lead consultant the Arlington Group and partners including Diamond Head Consulting, Sustainability Solutions Group and Koers & Associates Engineering Ltd. The process included extensive public consultation and various technical and background reports. Town Council adopted the “Comox Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2011” in July 2011 and have started to implement various aspects of the OCP including the expansion of zones that allow secondary suites and the improvements to the Cottonwood Lane Greenway, scheduled to be completed in September 2012.
The Town of Comox OCP Planning process was broken down into three phases:
Phase 1: Included an introductory public meeting to kick off the planning process and the first set of neighbourhood meetings. To help the process identify issues of neighbourhood interest and concern the Town was structured into five neighbourhoods:
● Downtown Comox
● Central Comox
● West Comox
● North Comox
● East Comox
These meetings included a review of demographic trends and historical development patterns, discussion about the OCP’s legislative requirements and how it must fit with the larger Regional Growth Strategy of the Comox Valley Regional District.
Age Friendly Planning The Town recognized the importance of including a range of key stakeholder groups in the public consultation process. During Phase 1 they connected a set of age friendly planning meetings that engaged youth and seniors. The process included discussion about how age friendly planning initiatives could be incorporated into the Town of Comox and more general discussion of Comox assets and issues. The process culminated in a joint presentation by the youth and seniors. The following reports contain an overview of the age friendly planning process and background demographic information on the Town of Comox:
Phase 2 included a second round of community meetings that built on the ideas gathered during Phase 1. Additionally two Open Houses were held that focused on the potential for future growth within the Town of Comox. The presentations focused on infill and redevelopment opportunities either along or within walking distance of BC Transit corridors. The emphasis on locating new development near transit services (commonly referred to as “transit oriented development”) forms part of a broader sustainability strategy focused on improving the well-being of citizens and the environment through increasing the use of public transport, walking and cycling and reducing dependence on vehicles.
Phase 2 also featured a second set of meetings and Council presentations featuring the draft Land Use Maps. These maps identify areas of future growth and set out a 20 year program for how land can be used and developed within the Town. The draft land use maps were also presented at two Open Houses and in a joint meeting of the Town’s Advisory Planning Commission and Advisory Design Panel.
In addition to developing the Land Use Maps the following background reports were prepared during Phase 2:
● Background and Policy Alternatives Report – The Arlington Group Planning + Architecture Inc.
● Town of Comox Parks and Greenways Assessment – Diamond Head Consulting
● Green House Gas Modelling Report – Sustainability Solutions Group
● Impact of Proposed OCP on Existing Underground Infrastructure – Koers & Associates
Phase 3 saw the preparation of the new OCP, including objectives and supporting policies, refined Land Use Maps and Development Permit Areas. A final set of Open Houses were held, providing citizens with an opportunity to comment on the draft OCP. From this feedback a final OCP was developed and presented to Council and citizens at a Public Hearing in May of 2011. Council adopted the Comox Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2011 on July 20, 2011 and the Town of Comox has begun implementing the plan.
K’ómoks First Nation Consultation Process During each phase of consultation for the new Town of Comox OCP a corresponding consultation process took place with the K’ómoks First Nation. This included an initial consultation, meetings to identify issues and concerns, and an itemized briefing note illustrating these concerns and how they could be accommodated within the new OCP. The draft OCP included included responses to issues raised during the initial consultation and a meeting between the Town of Comox and the K’ómoks First Nation was held to fine-tune these responses prior to OCP adoption.
If you have any questions regarding the OCP process or the Comox Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2011 please contact the Planning Department at (250) 339-1118.