Anmore South: Defining Our Future, Our Way
The Special Study Area designation for Anmore South in Anmore’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy was established as an interim designation a number of years ago, as the Council at the time recognized that there was potential for designating this property differently than other areas of Anmore. With changes to the Regional Growth Strategy coming in 2022, the timing is now ideal for Anmore to control its own future and move forward with confirming the OCP designation for this area.
Anmore South (the former Imperial Oil Company (IOCO) lands) encompasses 150 acres in the southern part of Anmore. To keep its options open, Council established a Special Study Area designation for this area in Anmore’s OCP back in 2005, and then requested the Special Study Area as part of the 2011 update to the Regional Growth Strategy with the understanding that a future decision would be made to confirm an official designation. While there are multiple designations in the Regional Growth Strategy, there are only two viable designations for residential development in Anmore – Rural and Urban. Only the Urban designation provides the Anmore community with options to define its own future.
The Village of Anmore now has the unique opportunity to lead the process for determining how this land will be designated as the property owner has withdrawn its development application. By taking the lead to complete a planning study and amendments to both the Official Community Plan and Regional Growth Strategy designation, Anmore will be able to guide the process and work with the community to provide more flexibility for how this land may be used in future.
It’s also important to move ahead with the amendment before the next iteration of the Regional Growth Strategy is considered in early 2022, which could result in additional Metro Vancouver Board votes being required to change the land use designation. Currently, an amendment to a Special Study Area can be approved by a vote of 50% plus one (other Regional Growth Strategy amendments usually require a 2/3 vote in favour).
This is an important consideration, as the Village needs to confirm designations as part of ensuring it can make decisions about Anmore’s future independently and based on its residents’ priorities – not what politicians from municipalities around the region feel is appropriate. They are motivated by the self-interests of their own communities and that should not influence what Anmore does within its own borders.
What Residents Need to Know
The Discussion Guide outlines Anmore Council’s proposal for an Urban designation for Anmore South in the OCP and Regional Growth Strategy. It provides context for why it’s important to make this amendment now, what the process involves and how an Urban designation helps to keep control in the hands of the Anmore community along with offering the most options for the future.
There are a number of misconceptions about the proposed Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment that need to be addressed so that residents are equipped with accurate information when providing input.
Correcting misinformation about Anmore South lands and this amendment
- This process is not about zoning or any specific development.
- This process does not relate in any way to the previous development application – which has been withdrawn.
- This area is not a park or green belt. In the past, it has been used as a gun range and extensively cleared.
An Urban designation does not automatically mean increased density and large commercial buildings. For more information regarding Urban, Rural and Semi-Rural myths, please see page 2 of the Discussion Guide.
Addressing Opportunity and Potential
An OCP designation is different than zoning. It provides a vision for what can happen – but doesn’t define anything specific in terms of what might be built there. Further community engagement will be required before development related to the OCP and zoning can even be considered. This isn’t the time to look at limitations – it’s the time to expand opportunities. It’s about envisioning what Anmore’s future might look like and considering the best designation to keep options open. The key is that Anmore would have the ability to define its future.
The process we are undertaking now will look at how the Anmore South designation can open up options and give control to Anmore residents instead of surrounding municipalities. When looking at residential designation options for Anmore South, the only viable options available are Urban or Rural. Council is recommending an Urban designation for Anmore South as it gives Anmore residents the broadest options in the future, including the ability to use Metro Vancouver utilities, like frequent transit connections.
An Urban designation does not mean high density and towers. In fact, the current RS-1 zoning could remain as is with an Urban designation. The key is it keeps options open,
unlike a Rural designation, which is extremely prescriptive and restrictive, and does not allow Anmore to be self-sufficient and self-guiding.
Alignment with Anmore’s Strategic Plan
Anmore’s Vision in its 2019-2022 Strategic Plan is to be “an independent and fiscally responsible community that values the environment, a social conscience, quality of life and being close to nature.”
Anmore South holds the potential to help achieve many of the Strategic Plan’s goals and priorities that were established to help achieve this vision, including supporting a more sustainable financial future by diversifying the tax base and reducing reliance on property taxes, and keeping options open for more sustainable housing. For more information on the potential for Anmore South in alignment with Anmore’s Strategic Plan, please see page 4 of the Discussion Guide.
Amendment Process for Anmore’s OCP and the Regional Growth Strategy
Phase 1: Community Engagement (April)
Community engagement will include providing information and consulting with residents. See the back of this guide for details about opportunities to provide input, including Zoom workshops and a virtual open house. See the schedule and how to register in the sidebar.
Phase 2: Amend Anmore’s OCP (April – June)
If Council directs staff to develop an OCP bylaw amendment, the Village would follow a prescribed process that includes a Public Hearing.
Phase 3: Apply for a Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy Amendment (July-November)
If the Village does proceed with submitting an application to amend the RGS, the Village would develop a proposed update to its RCS and Council would vote to send the amendment to Metro Vancouver for consideration. The Village would then submit an application to MV to change the SSA designation in the RGS.
Metro Vancouver follows it’s own prescribed process for these types of amendments.
For more details on the amendment process, see page 5 of the Discussion Guide.