What is an OCP ?
What is an Official Community Plan ?
The OCP sets out the broad directions for future development. Its policies are carried out through zoning, development permit guidelines, subdivision requirements and other instruments which are more detailed tools for managing and controlling development in the community.
An Official Community Plan is adopted as a bylaw by municipal Council, taking into account residents’ and property owners’ views about the future, regional trends, and legislative requirements. Once passed as a bylaw, the OCP has a legal status which requires that all development and use of land be consistent with policies of the plan.
The OCP states what Council intends to permit in the way of physical development in the years ahead.
The OCP can only indicate a desired direction. For actual changes in land use to occur, the property owner or their agent must make application to the City to initiate a change in the property's designation. Only after Council has considered the proposed change, and held a Public Hearing, can the OCP be amended. This generally requires changes to zoning and conformance with other municipal requirements.
Once the OCP has been amended, the property may be rezoned. For rezoning to occur, there must also be a Public Hearing at which anyone deeming themselves to have an interest in the matter is allowed to express their views. OCP and zoning Public Hearings are most often held concurrently, but in all cases, the OCP must first be amended in order to permit the proposed zoning.
Only after the OCP and zoning bylaws have been amended can the land use of a property be changed from what is currently permitted. This ensures that there has been adequate opportunity for the public to be heard, and for all relevant information to be considered by Council in making its decision.