Land use impacts how the District looks, feels and operates

Growth and change in the community can be managed effectively through policies related to the provision of infrastructure, services, and amenities and through the regulation of land use and development. Promoting compact, mixed-use, and high quality development will help protect our natural areas by reducing urban sprawl, eliminating unnecessary infrastructure spending, and fostering a convenient, walkable, and livable community.

Official Community Plan Amendments

The Official Community Plan (OCP) is a comprehensive plan to guide future land use and address related needs for amenities, services, and infrastructure support. The OCP operates in conjunction with the Zoning Bylaw and other municipal bylaws, and guides Council as they consider zoning changes. The OCP may be amended, from time to time, with regard to specific issues or proposals. 

Zoning Amendments

The principal purpose of the Zoning Bylaw is to guide growth in a systematic way, by ensuring various uses of land and structures are compatible with each other. Zoning regulates land in Sparwood and ensures that use of land and structures are compatible for the appropriate areas.

Amendments and revisions to the Zoning Bylaw and/or the OCP are considered to account for changing public interest, trends in the development industry, changes in the community environment, or changes in Federal or Provincial statutes. Rezoning typically alters the permitted density and/or the permitted use on a property.

When considering rezoning applications Council must consider Official Community Plan policies, neighbourhood and sector plan policies, staff recommendations and public input. 

Amending the Official Community Plan / Zoning Bylaw

If your project requires an amendment to the OCP, please complete an application form and return it to the Planning Department. The fee for amending the OCP is $1,000 and $750 for zoning amendments.

OCP amendment applications are often accompanied by a Zoning Bylaw Amendment and may also be accompanied by a Development Variance PermitAmendment applications are reviewed by applicable civic departments and may also be referred to external agencies for review. An amendment application, along with the proposed Bylaw, proceeds to Council for application approval, and first and second readings respectively and referral to a public hearing. A ten-day public notice period which includes notice distribution to the owners and tenants of neighboring properties and advertising in two issues of the local newspaper prior to a Public Hearing. After the Public Hearing, Council reads the Bylaw a third time, and will then approve or deny the amendment.

  • Our Vision

    In 2035, Sparwood will be a caring, neighbourly and sustainable community with pride in our natural environment. A unique and vibrant downtown will be the social, cultural and economic heart of our community, with opportunities to live, work, learn, shop, and play in close proximity. A diverse economy will provide a range of jobs and services to supplement the mining industry, which will continue to be our economic lifeblood. A diversity of housing options will allow residents with a range of ages, income levels and lifestyles to live comfortably in Sparwood through all stages of their lives. A world-class multi-purpose network of trails, parks, and recreational areas will support an active, healthy, and highly livable community. The full Official Community Plan is available online. 

    Our Goals

    To achieve this vision, Sparwood has set the following goals to guide implementation of this Official Community Plan (OCP). These goals provide the framework for the policies in Part II.

    1. Promote compact development and mixed use as the means to achieve a walkable community that provides efficient and sustainable infrastructure, minimizing negative impacts on the environment.
    2. Enhance the downtown by promoting high quality design and construction that reinforces Sparwood’s unique sense of place and become the social, cultural, and economic centre of the community with opportunities to live, work, learn, shop, and play.
    3. Support a diverse economy that provides a wide range of jobs and services to supplement the mining industry.
    4. Protect, manage and enhance rural, agricultural and forestry lands, balancing competing interests.
    5. Encourage, promote, and celebrate local heritage, culture, and arts.
    6. Encourage the provision of diverse housing options that allow residents with a range of ages, income levels, and lifestyles to live comfortably in the community through all stages of their lives.
    7. Support a healthy, safe and engaged community through social development, community services and civic engagement.
    8. Provide and manage infrastructure and services, including potable water, sewage, stormwater and roads in a cost effective and sustainable manner.
    9. Provide a safe and efficient multi-modal transportation system that balances vehicular traffic with active transportation.
    10. Encourage an active and healthy community through the development, maintenance, and enhancement of high-quality parks, passive and active recreational facilities and programs, and active transportation infrastructure.
    11. Promote environmental conservation best practices.
    12. Protect sand and gravel resource extraction areas in the community.
    13. Provide flexibility in land use to promote business development and diversification.
    Achieving our Vision and Goals

    The following directions represent this OCP’s priorities and summarize the objectives and policies in Part II:

    • Focus and integrate compatible future development within Sparwood’s downtown area and existing developed and serviced areas;
    • Locate the majority of future offices within the downtown area;
    • Enhance the downtown as an economically and socially vibrant community centre that is pedestrian-friendly and accessible to all residents;
    • Encourage diverse housing options for current and future residents that accommodate a broad range of ages, income levels, and lifestyles; and,
    • Identify Sparwood’s key natural areas, including the riparian areas around the Elk River and local creeks, and protect them through policy, regulation, and enforcement.

  • The Zoning Bylaw governs land use and the form, siting, height, and density of all development within the District boundaries to provide for the orderly development of the community and to avoid conflicts between incompatible uses. The Zoning Bylaw is available online.

    To find out the current zoning of your property, check out the online map system