Zoning notices lack clarity

There appears to be no standard guideline for drafting notices of public hearings

Zoning notices lack clarity

When reading the paper this morning I came across a public hearing notice for a (North Cowichan) zoning ammendment. If I understand it correctly, effectively it indicates a new zoning bylaw will ammend a previous zoning bylaw (from 1997), to reduce setbacks on what appears to be all properties in multiple agricultural zones.

Because my curiousity was piqued I looked up my copy of the North Cowichan bylaws (available online) to determine what the earlier bylaw 2950 covered. To my surprise this bylaw has an index that runs three pages long for a whole series of varying bylaw ammendments that it covers. I could not find the setback ammendment listed within. If you compare this hearing notice on A14 to another presented on page A11 you will notice a marked difference in the data provided. This is not the first time I have noticed notices that seemed to be short on detail and being of a skeptical nature I am left to wonder whether it is ever intentional.

As a Victoria commuter the times for council meetings make it difficult for me to attend and I rely heavily on the information provided in the paper, on the North Cowichan website and in the Council Matters email in order to form my opinions on development and safety issues around the district. There appears to be no standard guideline for drafting notices of public hearings or providing information about zoning changes. The first step to an informed electorate is to present data to them in a manner that allows for useful, considered dialogue. While I do not believe it is the newspaper’s role to create guidelines for publishing public notices, I do think that North Cowichan should reach out to you for guidance in developing a standard that ensures clarity when providing the public with information in the future.

Randy Noble

North Cowichan

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