New agricultural zone for smaller parcels

The A1 designation has been created to regulate plots smaller than two hectares

A new agriculture zone in the District of Kent gives properties smaller than the existing minimum size their own regulation, providing standards, efficiency and cost savings.

One of the bylaws passed after a public hearing Monday in the Centennial Centre at Municipal Hall created the A1 zone, which will share some features with its larger parent (A designation) but will also have regulation specific to itself.

The new agricultural zone is to be applied to parcels created during Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) approved subdivisions, boundary adjustments or homesite severances that fall below the District’s agricultural (A) zone minimum lot size of two hectares (five acres).

In the past exemptions from minimum lot size were made to specific properties.

The creation of the new zone is a reaction by District staff to the growing number of ALC approved parcels and the A1 classification aims to reduce the need for variance applications by providing bylaw clarity and practical zoning regulations for the smaller lots, according to a January report by director of development services Darcey Kohuch.

Uses for the Small Lot Agricultural Zone can include single dwelling residential use (site-built houses, manufactured homes or mobile homes allowed) or agriculture use.

Agri-tourism use is limited to 300 square metres on a property (excluding exterior activities) and must be seasonal (closed for 30 days a year including a minimum single two week closure).

Those agri-tourism businesses planning to have food and beverage service must highlight the farm’s products and seat no more than 40 patrons.

Farm retail sales are limited to a single structure for each sales use and 300 square metres (for both indoor and outdoor sales and displays).

Household businesses can add two of three options—in addition to agricultural use—from bed and breakfast, home occupation and one secondary suite.

And illuminated greenhouses will need to pay close attention to guidelines that protect neighbouring properties and nearby roads from light emissions.

Building coverage on the land will be limited to a maximum of 30 per cent plus 10 per cent for accessory buildings and structures.

The bylaw was passed unanimously by council in the special meeting Monday after a public hearing with no gallery participation.