Home plate bylaw up for discussion

District of Kent hoping to boost ag land by controlling home placement

The District of Kent is looking at the adoption of a farm home plate bylaw, which will  address issues such as the location of homes on farmland. Staff and council held a public open on July 30 to discuss the matter.

The bylaw includes a list of proposed changes, as developed through consultation with the Kent Agricultural Advisory Committee.

Home plate bylaws refer to the placing of a house on the outside edge of a property, similar to the home plate on a baseball diamond.

As presented, the District of Kent’s bylaw states that one side of the farm home plate must be located along a dedicated road, and approved employee dwellings must also be located in that area.

It also sets a maximum area of .5 acres for a home plate, and up to .125 acres more if an employee residence is on the farm. The area which can be used for a floor plan for a home would also be restricted.

Outbuildings and other areas related to the home would also be required to be located on the home plate, including attached garages, yards and decorative landscaping, swimming pools, tennis courts, workshops, household greenhouses and more.

The District’s presentation states that putting all the residential usage in one corner of a farming lot increases the area available for farming.

A similar bylaw is in place in Delta. Communities with a bylaw in a draft process are Kent, Surrey and Abbotsford.

There would be a leniency for current homes that are destroyed, with the ability to rebuild in the same location, through a development variance permit. There will also be options for farmers to make a case to move their home plate, if it is more beneficial to agricultural viability.

District staff is now reviewing public comments, and preparing recommendations to be taken to the Agricultural Advisory Committee before preparing a report to bring to council.

If council approves of the proposed bylaw, a public hearing will be set at a future date, prior to adoption.

A public questionnaire is available online at the District website at www.district.kent.bc.ca until Friday, August 10.

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