Agricultural Land Reserve
Anyone intending to subdivide within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), use their ALR property for non-farm purposes or construct multiple dwelling units must apply to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for permission. The application must be submitted through the ALC website: http://www.alc.gov.bc.ca/
ALC Guides: Before You Start an Application and Application Instructions
Contact ALC: https://www.alc.gov.bc.ca/alc/content/contact-us
CHANGES TO AGRICULTURAL LAND COMMISSION ACT & REGULATIONS - DWELLING UNITS
The Agricultural Land Commission Act and the Agricultural Land Reserve Use Regulation were amended on February 22, 2019, July 5, 2019, and April 26, 2021. These amendments resulted in numerous changes to the residential uses permitted on parcels within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).
The most recent April 26, 2021 amendments to the Agricultural Land Reserve Use Regulation have recently come into force and effect as of December 31st, 2021. The following is a summary of the key changes to the Agricultural Land Commission Act and the ALR Use Regulation.
- As of December 31, 2021, land within the ALR may have one principal residence as well as one additional residence per parcel if there is only one residence on the parcel when construction begins on the additional residence
- The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) may approve an application for an additional residence, exceeding the allowable permitted principal residence and one additional residence, if it is necessary for farm use
- The total floor area of a principal residence must be 500 m2 or less in order to comply with the ALC Act
- The total floor area of an additional residence constructed after December 31, 2021 must be:
- 90 m2 or less for parcels 40 ha or smaller; and
- 186 m2 or less for parcels larger than 40 ha.
- The regulations had previously contained provisions facilitating the construction of manufactured homes for immediate family members, accommodation above an existing farm building, or (in parts of the province) a second single family dwelling. These provisions are no longer found in the ALCA and the ALR Use Regulation, with the exception of some grandfathering protection for pre-existing structures of these kinds.
NOTE: Despite the above, any residences constructed within the ALR must also comply with any relevant Regional District zoning provisions which apply to the subject parcel (i.e., maximum parcel coverage, maximum number of dwellings per parcel, total floor area restrictions, etc.).
The placement or construction of the following would require ALC approval of a Non-Adhering Residential Use application prior to submitting a Building Permit application to the Regional District:
- a principal residence with a total floor area greater than 500 m2;
- a manufactured home, accommodation above an existing farm building, and a second single family dwelling as an additional residence that does not meet the total floor area criteria under the ALR Use Regulation; and
- an additional residence in excess of the one principal residence and one additional residence permitted under the ALR Use Regulation.
In the absence of ALC approval, the Regional District cannot issue a Building Permit for the above listed dwellings.
For more information, please refer to the following:
APPLICATIONS TO EXCLUDE LAND FROM THE ALR
As of September 30, 2020, private landowners are no longer able to make applications to the ALC to exclude land form the ALR. Exclusion applications may only be submitted by the Province, local governments, First Nation governments, and other prescribed bodies who own the land under application. Local governments and First Nation governments also have the ability to make exclusion applications for land they do not own (i.e., privately owned lands) within their jurisdiction.
In response to this legislation change, the Regional District has updated its Development Procedures Bylaw No. 2500, 2011 to establish a new procedure for processing ALC exclusion applications.
Private landowners who wish to exclude land from the ALR will need to submit a formal request to the Regional District.
The request must be first considered by the Regional District Board to determine whether the request should proceed to public hearing. If the Board resolves to proceed to public hearing, Development Services staff will carry out public consultation, refer the request to the applicable Advisory Planning Commission (APC), and hold a public hearing.
Following the public hearing, the Board will need to consider whether to submit the exclusion application to the ALC based on a technical report submitted by Development Services staff and results of the public consultation process.
If the Board resolves to submit an application to exclude the subject land(s) from the ALR, the required application materials will be submitted to the ALC for final decision.
For more information on the ALC exclusion application process, please see Section 3 of Schedule 8 in the Regional District's Development Procedures Bylaw No. 2500, 2011.