Permitted uses in the Agriculture A-1 zone are defined in the Land Use Bylaw, Section 38.1, and these include agriculture, agriculture processing, greenhouse, equestrian and residential single family. Land located in the Agricultural Land Reserve is regulated by the ALR Regulation, in addition to District bylaws. Uses beyond what is specifically permitted, may be permitted if supported by Council and the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).
FEBRUARY 22, 2019 - Recent changes to the Agricultural Land Commission Act relating to residential use and fill removal/placement are now in force. Properties located in the Agricultural Land Reserve will be limited to one principal residence with a maximum floor area of 500 m². Specific details are available at https://www.alc.gov.bc.ca
Permit Type or Use
Generally, one principal residence, less than 500 m² in total floor area, is permitted on the property. Within the dwelling unit, a secondary suite is permitted, but it must be located in the dwelling and not in a detached building.
Any additional dwellings, including farm help accommodations or a manufactured home, would require special approval by way of a "non-adhering residential use". This application would be reviewed by Council, as well as the ALC. Detailed information on this process is available on the ALC website.
Agricultural buildings, larger than 10 sq. meters, require a building permit as per the building bylaw. Along with the BC Building Code, the National Farm Code applies to aspects relating to structural sufficiency, fire safety and health requirements. Accessory buildings related to the residential use, would have the same requirements as accessory buildings on residential properties. If your property is zoned A-1, there are no limits to lot coverage, but setbacks and height are regulated in the Land Use Bylaw. Check out the Residential Building Permit page for more information about the building permit process and for accessory buildings (not for agricultural use).
An agricultural building for the purposes of cannabis production must meet regulations specific for these buildings. Land Use Bylaw Part 5, Section 36B includes minimum building setbacks to property lines, watercourses, ALR boundaries, school and parks. Additionally, the bylaw reflects the amended ALR Regulation which requires new structures to have a "base consisting entirely of soil" to be designated as "farm use". Further details on this can be found in the ALC Information Bulletin 04.
The ALR is a provincial designation in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are controlled. The ALR takes precedence over, but does not replace, other legislation and local bylaws that may apply. An ALC application is required whenever a land owner of property within the Agricultural Land Reserve intends to:
The Official Community Plan identifies environmentally sensitive areas (riparian, shoreline and sensitive ecosystems) that may be designated on your property. However, these Development Permits (DP) do not apply for normal farm practices protected by the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act. While the DP Guidelines do not apply to normal farming practices, they do apply to non-farming activities on agriculturally zoned properties. For example, construction of a non-farm building, a residence or a parking area on land within the Agricultural Land Reserve would be subject to the Development Permit Guidelines. Check out this link for more information on Development Permits.