The Municipality of the District of Chester, as with all municipal units in Nova Scotia, has a set of official planning documents that have been formally adopted by Council. They are:
At the present time, there is also a Secondary Planning Strategy and a Land Use By-law for the Village of Chester and surrounding area. These documents provide land use policies and zoning regulations that reflect the distinct character of the Village.
Beginning in the fall/winter of 2014/15, the Municipal planning documents are undergoing a process of review to determine the future course of the Municipality, and what policies and regulations should be replaced or revised due to changing social and economic conditions. There will be opportunities for the public to participate in this process throughout the review period, which is expected to continue through 2015 and 2016. This is an important process where citizens will have an opportunity to directly influence the future of this Municipality.
More about Zoning
A "zone" is a specified area of land in which uses are permitted and development standards, such as height and setback from the property line, are applied.
The types of zones are:
About Planning Permission
Under the provisions of these planning documents, new development can either take place as of right, because it meets all policies and regulations, by "site plan approval" where required (to meet certain design stipulations], or by Development Agreement. A Development Agreement is a legal agreement between a developer and the Municipality to undertake a development subject to specific terms and conditions.
Often, a development is desired that is permitted in the zone, but does not fully meet the requirements. For example, a proposed house may meet all the development standards except that it has, for example, a shorter side yard setback than what is required under the Land Use By-law. In this case, the developer or owner may apply for a variance and declare why they can not meet the land use bylaw requirements. Variance approval is not guaranteed to be granted.
The procedure for amending planning documents to permit a specific land use or a change in development standards, or for granting variances, is governed by the Municipal Government Act of the Province of Nova Scotia. More information on Provincial planning legislation can be found at www.novascotia.ca or contact the Community Development Department, 186 Central Street, Chester, NS, 902-275-2599.