- Outside the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), a Commercial (for‐profit) public assembly use such as a wedding, corporate retreat or rave/ party requires appropriate zoning or a Temporary Use Permit and any event with over 200 people also requires a Special Event Permit.
- Under the ALR Use, Subdivision, and Procedure Regulation, these kinds of commercial public assembly uses are still not considered agri-tourism. Commercial weddings and events are now permitted as a non-farm use under new ALR regulations under certain conditions. Such uses may only be allowed on ALR land if a property has farm class under the BC Assessment Act, and meets a number of other conditions.
- Vacation rentals (nightly or weekly) are not permitted in the ALR by default, and are only permitted on properties with the appropriate zoning.
NON-FARM USE COMMERCIAL EVENTS IN THE ALR
The Provincial government via the Ministry of Agriculture, recently made changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) Use, Subdivision, and Procedure Regulation regarding agritourism and non-farm use commercial events. Through Order-in-Council No. 602-2016 the Province has created several new definitions and revised existing definition in the ALR regulations. There are new regulatory provisions regarding agritourism and non-farm “gathering for an event” uses. More information on non-farm use commercial events in the ALR can be found here: http://www.slrd.bc.ca/inside-slrd/current-projects-initiatives/alr-regul...
COMMERCIAL EVENTS OUTSIDE THE ALR
Outside the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), a commercial (for‐profit) public assembly use such as a wedding, corporate retreat or rave/ party requires appropriate zoning or a Temporary Use Permit and any event with over 200 people also requires a Special Event Permit. These commercial land uses in areas that are not zoned for such use raise a number of regulatory and bylaw enforcement issues.
Why is this an issue?
Complaints -- The SLRD has received, and continues to receive, a number of complaints from residents, farmers and other legitimately zoned business owners regarding weddings and other commercial uses occurring on lands that are not zoned for the use.
Bylaw and Regulations -- The SLRD has many bylaws and regulations that provide residents and the business community with some security as to which land uses are allowed and which are prohibited. By making the regulations known to everyone, a level playing field is created and property investment decisions can be made more confidently. When the SLRD bylaws and regulations are not adhered to, it can be seen as unfair to those who follow the rules and can also lead to a number of undesirable land use issues.
Also, the SLRD zoning must align with and support Provincial regulations. This means that the SLRD zoning bylaws must conform to Agricultural Land Commission regulations, with enforcement a responsibility of both organizations.
Plans and Policies -- There are many SLRD plans and policies which provide direction for current and future policy making and zoning regulations regarding land use and the preservation/protection of agricultural land.
Noise Bylaws -- the SLRD has two noise bylaws that regulate noise in Electoral Areas C and D. Please see the Bylaws page for details.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, these issues are outlined in further detail in the Information Booklet, Board Report of April 22, 2015 and Commercial Events and Land Use Regulation Presentation.
What are the current options?
There are currently two options available for property owners who wish to operate commercial events in areas not zoned for such uses:
- Application for rezoning (sometimes called spot zoning);or
- Application for temporary use permit.
What other requirements may exist?
If you are planning an event or gathering within an electoral area of the SLRD, and will have 200 or more guests or attendees, you also require a Special Event Permit under the SLRD Special Events Bylaw. For more information, see the Special Events page.
For information on Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) regulations and clarity around what constitutes agritourism and gathering for an event, refer to:
- ALR Use, Subdivision, and Procedure Regulation
- ALC Policy #4: Activities Designated as Farm Use: Agri-tourim Activities in the ALR
- The SLRD Board Agritourism Policy.
For more information on the Agricultural Land Reserve regulations, please visit www.alc.gov.bc.ca or
For more information, contact:
SLRD Planning & Development Department