The West Hants Municipal Planning Strategy, Land Use By-law and Subdivision By-law were approved by Council on May 13, 2008, following a 7½-year plan review process. The new documents took effect on June 26, 2008.
In the fall of 2001, the Planning Department began work on a comprehensive review of the four Municipal Planning Strategies (MPS) and Land Use By-laws (LUB) that covered the Municipality of West Hants. The intent was to combine the four separate planning documents into one more comprehensive and consistent document. The first stage of the Plan Review was to research and prepare a series of background reports which included statistical profiles addressing demographic and development trends, an agricultural profile and agricultural zoning analysis, and a mining profile. Staff also carried out land use surveys and a review of the supply of land for development in serviced areas.
The first phase of public involvement in the Plan Review took the form of a survey which was sent out to every household in Windsor and West Hants early in June 2002. Public meetings were held in the fall of 2002 in seven West Hants communities to present the survey results, advise of the Plan Review process and seek further input on future directions for the new planning documents. Two meetings were held with land developers and one with the agricultural community to obtain insight into the special concerns of these interest groups.
Throughout the winter of 2003, staff worked with West Hants Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) members to develop an overall strategy concept or vision which would form the framework for the new planning documents. West Hants PAC held a public meeting in June 2003 to present the strategy concept to the public.
In May 2005, a meeting was held to present a first draft of the agricultural land use provisions to farmers and other landowners in proposed agricultural zones. Public involvement in the Plan Review continued in November 2005 when a planning charrette in Falmouth explored issues related to residential density and servicing in that community.
By June 2007, Planning Advisory Committee was ready to present complete drafts of the Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-law to the public. Meetings were held in seven West Hants communities, with more than 160 people attending. The draft documents were generally well received, although some concerns were raised. In the months following the meetings, PAC spent a great deal of time discussing ways of addressing the concerns and making revisions to the documents. In November 2007, a public meeting was held to receive comments on the draft Subdivision By-law. Changes to this by-law were needed to reflect new policies in the proposed Municipal Planning Strategy.
Revised drafts of the new Municipal Planning Strategy, Land Use By-law and Subdivision By-law were presented to the public at a Public Information Meeting on February 21, 2008. Following legal review and editing, the documents proceeded to public hearing and adoption by Council on May 13, 2008.