Secondary residences in the Agricultural Land Reserve in the Regional District of North Okanagan must now be approved by the local government and the Agricultural Land Commission following provincial changes. (file)

Secondary residences in the Agricultural Land Reserve in the Regional District of North Okanagan must now be approved by the local government and the Agricultural Land Commission following provincial changes. (file)

Secondary dwellings in North Okanagan’s ALR not banned: Ministry

Provincial changes require additional approval for mobile, manufactured homes on farmland in RDNO

The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) reminded its residents to submit applications for secondary dwellings on properties within the Agricultural Land Reserve by Thursday, as they would be prohibited Feb. 22, 2020, after changed provincial regulations go into effect.

But the only change that will affect secondary residences come February is the processes manufactured or mobile homes must go through before approval, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Applications will have to go through two levels of approvals — the RDNO and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).

Secondary residences — manufactured or mobile — on ALR lands will not be banned.

In February 2019, provincial regulations changed affecting properties within the ALR and a major change involves secondary residences for a member of the property owner’s immediate family.

The RDNO said residents within the building inspection area (Electoral Areas B, C, D, E, F, Lumby and Spallumcheen) must obtain building permits before the Feb. 22 deadline. They had recommended applications be in by Jan. 23, as at least 30 days are required by staff to assess them.

The ministry clarified that while regulations were being revised, people had already purchased manufactured homes for immediate family and this backlog was granted a “grandfathering period,” extending deadlines for people not farming on the ALR to have manufactured homes on their property.

Following the deadline, the agriculture ministry said applications will still be considered, they will just have to undergo additional consideration from both the local government and ALC.

According to the ministry, the ALC reviews every application on a case-by-case basis as each farm and ranch is different and has its own residential needs that change over time. The ALC makes a decision based on specific facts that are consistent with its mandate.

A core part of the ALC’s mandate is to protect farmland for farming.

The reason for the provincial changes regarding secondary dwellings on ALR lands in the first place, the ministry said, was to ensure land would remain affordable for those intending to farm it — as it was so purposed.

READ MORE: Applications due for secondary dwellings in ALR in North Okanagan

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Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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