TOWN OF GRAND BAY-WESTFIELD MUNICIPAL PLAN BY-LAW
FIRST READING BY TITLE on this ________ day of ____________________, 2009.
SECOND READING BY TITLE on this ________ day of ____________________, 2009.
THIRD READING AND ENACTMENT this ________ day of ____________________, 2009.
The Town of Grand Bay-Westfield Municipal Plan
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
In 2002, the newly amalgamated municipality of Grand Bay-Westfield conducted a municipal plan review which included an extensive review of the existing conditions of the area in terms of Land Use issues, Quality of Life issues and Infrastructure issues (See Grand Bay-Westfield: Municipal Plan Review – Background Report 2002). 6 years later, many of the same planning issues persist; and yet development pressures – particularly with regards to the proposed Route 7 Interchange and Collector Road – present the municipality with new and dynamic opportunities to plan future development in a manner that reflect the needs of the municipality and its residents.
In 2008, pursuant to the New Brunswick Community Planning Act, the Town of Grand Bay-Westfield began the review process required to prepare an updated Municipal Plan By-Law and Zoning By-Law; and to update the Subdivision and Building Bylaws; to provide direction for planning and development in the community now and into the future.
This Municipal Plan has been prepared under the direction of the Council for the Municipality of Grand Bay-Westfield. This version replaces an earlier Plan adopted by Council in 2002. The Municipal Plan for the Municipality of Grand Bay-Westfield was prepared in accordance with the provisions of Section 23 through 27 of the New Brunswick Community Planning Act.
1.2 Interpretation Provisions
This Plan contains policy statements regarding areas of Municipal and public interest that pertain to the use of land within the community, the economic well being of the community, and the quality of life the Town Council endeavours to provide to the residents Grand Bay-Westfield.
This Plan, which consists of written text and associated maps, has been prepared and enacted in accordance with the New Brunswick Community Planning Act which requires that a Municipal Plan must contain policies and may contain proposals to manage and direct change and its effects on the social, economic, and environmental characteristics of a municipality. These policies and proposals must deal with the following list of topics; as prescribed by subsection 23(5) of the Community Planning Act:
The overall purpose of this Plan is to function as a community development tool and guide development within the Town over the next 5 to 10 year period.
The general goal of this plan is to provide a planning framework and strategies within which the social, cultural and environmental aspects of the community are enhanced using a balanced approach to residential development, environmental protection and economic growth.
The overall physical vision for the Town is contained in the Generalized Future Land Use Map that accompanies this document as Schedule B; The Proposed Road Classification Update Plan as Schedule C; and the Environmental Protection Plan as Schedule D. The documents should be read together. In addition, the policies contained in this Plan are enacted and implemented by regulating by-laws, separate from the Municipal Plan By-Law.
Including Section I – Introduction, the Municipal Plan is organized into four sections. Section II of this Plan contains the Development Strategy. Section III Policies and Proposals, contains the detailed policies, presented in three parts: Quality of Life; Infrastructure and Services; and Economic Development. Section IV describes the Implementation of the Plan; and Section V contains the Five Year Capital Works Budget.
CHAPTER 2: DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
The new development strategy for Grand Bay-Westfield is an approach to carefully manage growth through responsible development that reflects the existing and projected needs of the community. It does this by recognizing the development potential around the highway interchanges and the proposed collector road; past investments in the Town including private residential and commercial lands; and the sewage treatment facilities and roadway infrastructure. It also recognizes the public input through consultations during the planning process, supporting the goals of sustainable community growth and a stable tax base.
2.2 Environmental Protection
Residents of Grand Bay-Westfield, like many Canadians, have shown an increasing awareness and concern for the protection of the natural environment. Recognizing the desire for improved environmental protection within the Town, the Plan contains policies related to topographical limitations, water quality protection and future municipal water services, storm-water control and sanitary sewer services to protect drinking water sources. The strategies all focus on prevention and avoidance of environmental conflicts and support certain provincial initiatives in this regard. For example, policies to control development near waterways or steep slopes, a future possibility of sewer extensions and the introduction of wetlands mapping has been initiated by the Town.
2.3 Housing Mix and Density
The Town of Grand Bay-Westfield seeks to strengthen the commercial core of the Town by providing zoning controls that foster a higher density and varied housing mix next to the existing commercial service area. These controls are expected to encourage denser housing and commercial investment in serviced areas. The higher density zones near the commercial core will permit multiple unit dwellings and smaller building lots that will favour walking over the use of cars for short trips. As well, residential use above first floor commercial use will continue to be encouraged. Mixed housing and higher densities are also intended to encourage a broader range of age groups living within a short distance of the commercial area. This will be of particular benefit to seniors who wish to live within easy access to services.
Council anticipates that, in the near future, an interchange will be developed by the Province at Highway 7 and Highland Road. A collector road is also proposed which will link the interchange to the central commercial district. Future higher density residential and commercial areas are intended to utilize this new means of access.
2.5 Linear Trail and Park Nodes
Building on the success of the Town’s municipal heritage linear trail system and designation as part of the Trans-Canada Water Trail, Council proposes that the trails will continue to be developed as time, finances and circumstances permit. The trail will be extended as opportunities permit. Over time, a closed loop in the trail system may incorporate a series of park nodes that will be established as entry points, rest areas and centres of activity along the connecting trail. Council also encourages the development of a Recreation and Open Space Master Plan.
2.6 Economic Development
The housing mix and density approach described above is intended to strengthen existing commercial development within the Town by concentrating new residential development within close proximity to services. In addition, the economic development focus includes enhancing tourism opportunities within the Town. Council also recognizes the potential for residential development to support overall local economic growth.
2.7 Mixed Use Development
As part of Grand Bay-Westfield’s strategy of strengthening its commercial core, mixed use development will enhance residential proximity to services and will help foster a village atmosphere. This functional integration is a common feature of traditional town centers where shop owners lived above ground-floor businesses, and are sometimes referred to as “live-work units” which promote transport alternatives such as walking and cycling.
CHAPTER 3: POLICIES AND PROPOSALS
The policies of the Municipal Pan are presented under three headings: Quality of Life; Infrastructure and Service; and Economic Development. These headings reflect the opinion of Council that these three areas of concern are the most important from the perspective of land use, governance and fiscal responsibility.
3.1 Quality of Life
With respect to quality of life, the future vision for Grand Bay-Westfield is summarized as follows:
"The provision of more access to river and other natural resources, and the careful use of zoning that provide peace of mind and a managed rate of growth. The community wishes to retain its country atmosphere and contribute to the well being of its citizens, from young to old. It believes that people will be drawn to a nice community. However, the maintenance of the environment and our natural resources is valued more highly than a desire to have these resources developed. The community wishes to support businesses that have or want to put roots in the community as a more sustainable form of commercial development."
This section contains policies and proposals pertaining to the following areas of Municipal concern:
3.1.1 Land Use
Existing investments, infrastructure and land uses must be considered in selecting new areas for growth or the enhancement of existing developments. Demographic analysis conducted for this Plan indicates that changing demographics will create the demand for a different mix of housing. These changes create the opportunity for the Town to take a leading role in addressing the needs of an aging population. Preferred development areas should be those places that are readily serviced by municipal infrastructure, and that are within a reasonable walking distance of shops and services.
Specific policies related to these land uses are contained in the appropriate sections that follow.
As stated by various stakeholders and residents during community consultations, there is a desire for carefully planned growth allowing for higher density of development around services while preserving the overall “rural quality” of the Town.
The proposed collector road provides for residential redevelopment opportunities together with appropriate commercial and institutional uses that primarily serve adjacent neighbourhoods. Due to its location relative to the commercial district, it has been identified as having major opportunities for redevelopment. The overall land use objective of the proposed collector road is to work towards creating an attractive street that will be the focal point for development in this sector.
Many residents value the single-family rural residential qualities that characterize much of Grand Bay-Westfield. Notwithstanding, home occupations including home offices and bed & breakfast operations and other non-polluting or non-noxious businesses are also encouraged. A vital community fosters a range of housing styles and densities that may support existing or potential commercial uses.
As noted under 3.1.1 Land Use, the anticipated changes in population will result in an overall older population with fewer persons per household. As a result of this aging population, it is expected that housing needs will change. As children grow up and leave the home, there will be more demand for semi-detached and apartment units. As current adults retire, other housing types such as garden homes and condominiums which require minimal maintenance may be more in demand. There will also be an increasing demand for housing units that appeal to lone parent families and young adults who are starting their working careers. In the future, urban renewal programs that create an appropriate mix of housing type and density for a changing demographic may be required.
3.1.2 (3) Housing and Urban Renewal Policy 3
The conservation and improvement of the physical environment; the control and abatement of all forms of pollution of the natural environment.
Grand Bay-Westfield lies within an outstanding rural riverside environment with striking scenery. The favourable climate and scenic waterways create a variety of recreational possibilities for both residents and visitors. The rivers and lakes provide bird watching and fishing opportunities, and woodland locations provide opportunities to see larger mammals in a natural setting. This setting is one that Council wishes to enhance and maintain.
Environmental policies in this Plan focus on prevention. Controls for development on steep slopes, wetlands, watercourses, flooding and water supply protection are all addressed. At such time as Council may decide to develop a central water supply, additional protection measures may be required.
Watercourses including streams and natural wetlands provide important habitat to fish, wildlife, migrating and over-wintering birds, as well as providing natural recharge areas for wells and managing storm-water runoff.
Schedule D: Environmental Protection, shows areas of the Town of Grand Bay-Westfield containing slopes 15% or greater; major water courses; wetland areas; and the Musquash Watershed.
3.1.3 (4) Environmental Policy 4
The Town's ability to prosper in future years is dependent upon quality education. The choice of schools is a vital component of a young family's decision to move to Grand Bay-Westfield, and to stay in the community as their children grow. While many educational policy decisions are made outside the community, it is essential that Council convey the importance of education to the future prosperity of the Town and the benefits that good schooling offers.
Located close to Saint John, residents can take advantage of various higher education opportunities while remaining in Grand Bay-Westfield; and should be encouraged to seek a lifetime of learning.
As new schools are contemplated for the Town in the future, location decisions must be as important a consideration as the number of classrooms. Schools should be sited in the middle of neighbourhoods, and be readily accessible. Schools that are centrally located and accessible have implications for the promotion of healthy active living, safety and the environment. A Smart Growth study published in 2004 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found:
Ideally, schools are centers for the community and are located safely within walking and bicycling distance of the students who they serve.
3.1.5 Culture and Heritage
The Town of Grand Bay-Westfield extends 14.5 kilometres along the St. John and Nerepis Rivers. It encompasses the smaller founding communities of Grand Bay, Pamdenec, Epworth Park, Ingleside, Ononette, Hillandale, Westfield Beach, Lingley, Sagwa and Nerepis. Many of the communities were named after railway stations built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, and were popular summer recreation areas for residents of Saint John and elsewhere. Many of the early homes still remain, and are a delightful reminder of this heritage.
Today, the rivers and the railway provide common threads that tie the communities together. The names of the individual communities, which still retain their own special identities, are commemorated in a series of information kiosks that mark the way along River Valley Drive and Nerepis Road. The kiosks are part of a Municipal Heritage Trail, the first in New Brunswick, which also connects to “Visitor Information” at the Brundage Point River Centre.
Summer and winter recreation activities and quiet rural aspects of the Town are part of its heritage that are not yet lost and can still be preserved, not just because they were important in the past, but also because these aspects of life are important today. As time goes on, people, whether local or visitors, will require the peacefulness that certain parts of the Town now provides and should continue to provide in the future.
3.1.6 Parks and Recreation and Open Space
The community has worked very hard in creating a linear park, ball fields, tennis courts, arena, parks, playgrounds, a 400 metre running track, community centres and schools. The community takes pride in this achievement and Council encourages the continuance of these assets as the community develops. Council envisions the trail as a link that connects many public facilities, parks, and open space as a continuous pedestrian circuit. It shall continue to encourage its development over time.
Council acknowledges the recreation and leisure needs of Grand Bay-Westfield residents. Council also supports the assessment of current and future recreation needs of the community with a particular focus on the needs of adolescents and seniors.
Improved recreational access to the river is desired by residents. The Waterfront Development Plan for Grand Bay-Westfield which was commissioned by Council in 2003 set out to identify and maintain public access points to the river. The Plan included recommendations for the identification, development, maintenance and improvement of waterfront access and trails. Council is also committed to enhancing the development of the Brundage Point River Centre for the enjoyment of all residents and visitors. Grand Bay-Westfield and its River Centre now act as an access point to the Trans Canada Trail Water Route.
3.1.7 Emergency Services
The current emergency services adequately meet the needs of Grand Bay-Westfield residents. However, Council recognizes that the potential for growth associated with the development of the proposed interchange and collector road; in addition to anticipated demographic changes will accordingly require carefully managed growth for first response services infrastructure.
3.1.7 (1) Emergency Services Policy 1
3.1.7 (2) Emergency Services Policy 2
3.1.7 (3) Emergency Services Policy 3
3.1.7 (4) Emergency Services Policy 4
3.1.7 (5) Emergency Services Policy 5
3.1.7 (6) Emergency Services Policy 6
3.1.7 (7) Emergency Services Policy 7
3.1.8 Cemeteries and Crematoria
Planning for cemeteries and crematoria.
There are several small cemeteries in Grand Bay-Westfield. Most are associated with churches. While the present demand for cemetery plots can be accommodated by the existing facilities, Council will need to identify and designate an appropriate location for a new cemetery at such time as the need arises.
3.1.8 (1) Cemeteries and Crematoria Policy 1
3.1.9 Health Services
Town Council has no direct responsibility for the provision of health care. Health services are purely a Provincial responsibility. However, the Town has an interest in ensuring that health services are provided in a manner which meets the needs of the community.
Council believes that a healthy population is essential to a successful community. Council encourages wellness as an essential part of the overall quality of life in Grand Bay-Westfield. As the overall population continues to age, health care will become a more dominant concern for residents. While it is unlikely that the community will require a public hospital, other health facilities such as a wellness centre may become viable and necessary. Such facilities can be tailored to the needs of aging individuals and the disabled.
It is the opinion of Council that good health care facilities within easy access of residents will contribute significantly to the quality of life and peace of mind of residents in the community.
3.2 Services and Infrastructure
The provision and maintenance of municipal infrastructure and services is one of the most costly aspects of municipal service delivery. Council will regularly seek to reduce these costs through the encouragement of innovation and improvement in all aspects of the service delivery process. To this end, land previously considered to be rural-un-serviced on the Future Land Use Map will be considered residential low-density; with the proviso that developers will bear the cost of providing infrastructure (i.e. streets, water and sewer connections) with new developments.
3.2.1 (2) Services Policy 2
The Plan anticipates the changing needs for municipal infrastructure and services. The implications of the longer-term demographic trend toward an aging population may have ramifications for Grand Bay-Westfield. Council shall consider policies that address this trend.
This section also contains policies on the following elements that constitute hard infrastructure and services:
3.2.2 Water Supply and Distribution
The Town presently relies on individual wells for potable water. A municipal wastewater collection and treatment system presently services some areas of the Town. The municipal wastewater collection system eliminates the need for individual on- site domestic septic systems, which in turn assists in groundwater resource protection.
In 2004 a study entitled “Municipal Water System – Feasibility Study” was completed by Godfrey Associates Ltd. The study investigated the feasibility of constructing a municipal water system for the Town, including a review of various supply sources. The current options for a municipal water system are; a ground water supply, a surface water supply from Loch Alva, a surface water supply from Spruce Lake; or a connection to treated water from the City of Saint John.
3.2.3 Sanitary Sewers and Sewage Treatment
Extensions to the sewage collection system should be undertaken to accommodate new growth in the Town ensuring that the existing reserve capacity in the collection system at treatment facilities is not exceeded. The costs will be borne by the developer by way of a cost recovery utility. Sections of the Town not serviced by the municipal collection system must rely on individual septic systems (generally septic tank and disposal bed) for wastewater treatment and disposal. In such instances, especially where lots may be small, there is a greater potential and risk for groundwater contamination.
3.2.4 Storm Sewers
It is essential that all new subdivision development construct a storm drainage system. New development should not result in adverse impacts on downstream sections of the storm sewer system and all Provincial regulations with respect to watercourses should be followed. Where necessary, retention ponds and methods should be employed to minimize impacts on downstream sections of the storm sewer system and watercourses.
3.2.5 Transportation, Communication and Utility
New developments shall construct new roads.
The Town of Grand Bay-Westfield recognizes the importance of efficient delivery of utilities and communications infrastructure to economic and community development. While not in a position to initiate such investment, the Town supports the upgrading and extension of these services.
3.2.6 Solid Waste
Grand Bay-Westfield is seen as the host community to the Fundy Region Solid Waste Commission Landfill site. Residents have a sense of ownership in the Regional Landfill, and embrace the goals of waste reduction, composting and recycling; and where they live so close to the facility, they are generally content to carry their refuse to the site or make private arrangements for pick up.
Municipal staff has identified that a small proportion of the Town’s households rely on cartage contractors. Compost containers are available to residents, and the recyclable container facilities are reliably used. Council is proud of its citizens’ waste diversion record and is convinced that the three “R”s; of waste reduction, reuse, and recycling are reinforced with its current garbage disposal policy. Future development and expansion of the Town or changes to the regional waste management facilities may direct changes for future solid waste policies.
3.3 Economic Development
The economic well being of the Town is a priority concern for Council. A healthy community is one that includes people of all economic levels, and one that provides opportunities for all residents to live and prosper over time.
Council also respects that Grand Bay-Westfield is a satellite community to Saint John. The economic progress of the City is felt by the Town. Council intends to support economic development efforts in the Saint John Region. Notwithstanding, it also looks to foster independent commercial and employment opportunities within its boundaries as a means of increasing its tax base.
This section contains plan policy on the following topics:
3.3.2 Business & Commerce
3.3.4 Light Industry
3.3.5 Pits and Quarries
3.3.6 Adult Entertainment
3.3.2 Business & Commerce
The Town has a variety of small business enterprises that Council is pleased to see flourish. The consultations revealed a desire to see commercial enterprises encouraged.
Council is of the opinion that the position of the community on the beautiful St. John and Nerepis Rivers, and at the entrance to the Kingston Peninsula, is a significant tourism asset that should be exploited.
The Tourism Committee of Grand Bay-Westfield recently commissioned a study regarding tourism strategy which was released in July 2008; “Town of Grand Bay-Westfield: Tourism Development and Implementation Program.”
3.3.3 (1) Tourism Policy 1
3.3.3 (2) Tourism Policy 2
Other Plan policies that relate directly to Tourism include Business and Commerce (3.3.1), Culture and Heritage (3.1.5), and Parks and Recreation and Open Space (3.1.6).
3.3.4 Light Industry
While the Town of Grand Bay-Westfield Zoning By-law contains regulations for light industrial uses, no lands have been designated industrial due to higher costs of financing. Council will consider proposals for industrial uses and rezoning when appropriate.
3.3.5 Pits & Quarries
While the town of Grand Bay-Westfield zoning by-law contains regulations for pits and quarries, no lands are designated for such purpose at this time. The community contains a sand and gravel quarry that has been in operation for three quarters of a century. The Town has no desire to interfere with the economic success of the enterprise. Nevertheless, it foresees a time when the quarry is restored to natural cover conditions. Council will consider rezoning for areas designated as Rural Resources for future industries of this type, when appropriate.
3.3.6 Adult Entertainment
Adult entertainment uses are characterized by an emphasis on the depiction or description of specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas. While adult entertainment uses, including adult cabarets, adult motion picture theatres, adult retail outlets and adult bookstores do not currently operate within Grand Bay-Westfield, such establishments do raise concerns with respect to moral standards. Council recognizes that the regulation of this industry falls within the jurisdiction of senior levels of government.
However, to the extent permitted in the Community Planning Act, Council does wish to regulate “adult entertainment” uses.
CHAPTER 4: IMPLEMENTATION
4.2 The Municipal Plan
The Municipal Plan for the Town of Grand Bay-Westfield is the prime policy document providing the framework by which the future growth and development of the Town shall be encouraged, controlled and coordinated. The policies of this Plan will be implemented through the powers of Council provided by the Community Planning Act.
In accordance with Section 27 of the Community Planning Act, the adoption of this Municipal Plan does not commit Town Council, or the Province, to undertake any proposal herein suggested or outlined, but shall prevent the undertaking of any development in any manner inconsistent or at variance with any proposal or policy so outlined or suggested within this Municipal Plan. In the case of the Province or a person, no development can be undertaken which is inconsistent or at variance with any proposal outlined or suggested.
Those considerations or proposals that Town Council may wish to investigate to implement the Plan are not restricted to those specified in the Plan. In addition to specific by-laws and regulations, Town Council may encourage or direct the adoption of administrative procedures to more effectively implement the policies of this Plan.
A Review of the Municipal Plan is to be undertaken every five years as required under section 72 of the Community Planning Act.
4.3 Amendments to the Municipal Plan
Amendments to this Municipal Plan are possible under Section 74 of the Community Planning Act.
The cost of an amendment will be $1,000.00 for each application and made payable to the Town of Grand Bay-Westfield. Town Council may, at its discretion, return to the applicant all or any portion of the application fee.
4.4 Reapplication for an Amendment to the Municipal Plan
Where an application for amendment to the Municipal Plan has been refused within the previous twelve months, Council will not entertain an application to rezone the same property unless the proposed uses or circumstances are substantially different from the previous application.
4.5 The Zoning By-law
The Municipality will amend the Zoning By-law for the Town of Grand Bay-Westfield immediately following the enactment of the Municipal Plan in accordance with Section 34(1) of the Community Planning Act. The amendment must reflect all relevant provisions of the Plan.
All amendments to the Zoning By-law will be in accordance with the “Generalized Future Land Use Map”, Schedule B, of the Municipal Plan for purposes of conformity.
In considering future amendments to the Zoning By-law, Council shall have regard for the following:
b) the adequacy and availability of municipal services.
In addition to any other specific considerations identified elsewhere in the Municipal Plan and Zoning By-law, the evaluation of all applications for amendments to the Zoning By-law shall take into consideration:
Prior to granting an application to amend the Zoning By-law, consideration will be given to the imposition of terms and conditions to address, but not be limited to, compatibility with surrounding land uses, protection of the environment, and the use and enjoyment of property including provisions specifying:
4.6 The Building By-law
An amendment to the Building By-law may be required to assure conformity with this Plan in accordance with Section 59(1) of the Community Planning Act.
4.7 The Subdivision By-law
The Subdivision By-law will be reviewed and amended as may be required to assure conformity with this Plan in accordance with Section 42(1) of the Community Planning Act.
4.8 Other Municipal By-laws
Council will review any other by-laws that may be affected by this Plan, including for example the Water By-law or Sewer By-law, to ensure consistency with the Municipal Plan.
CHAPTER 5: BUDGET
5.1 Capital Works Program
In addition to controlling private development, Council may undertake programs of its own to encourage development in certain areas, improve or protect the environment, or to provide a greater range of social, recreational, or cultural facilities. It is the purpose of this Plan as outlined in policy to aid in the establishment of such programs. It is the intent of Council to incorporate policies and provisions of this Plan into the Capital Budget and the Five Year Capital Plan to the greatest extent possible as a means of eventual integration of planning, capital programming and budgeting.
As required by section 23(6) of the Community Planning Act, Council establishes a five-year capital budget. This budget will be revised on an annual basis.