Backyard Farm TUP Application
There are many aspects associated with this application that need to be addressed. I would like to discuss only a couple of issues dealing with compliance and definitions.
Approximately, 5 years ago I first met Chris Van Hooydonk where he told me about the Regional Districts involvement and compliance issues concerning his operation. At the time, I wondered why it wouldn’t be considered just another of many home occupations that exists throughout Area C and the Regional District.
Presently, with this TUP application, I have been reviewing the Area C Zoning Bylaw more in depth and still feel he is well within the provisions of a home-based business. Reading the provisions of a Home Occupation, he complies. In normal circumstances, if a home based business like his, takes out a permit to build a deck it is to expand the business and staff is correct in proceeding with formalizing the use. In this case however it was to replace the inside use for his patrons to the outside so as to comply with provincial regulations due to Covid 19, resulting in a smaller area. For this reason, the APC and the Board should forgive this permit application and the Home Occupation designation should remain in place.
At first, I liked the TUP designation since the occupation was tied to the owner and not the land. However, after reading the staff report it is apparent that staff and possibly the Board considers a TUP a precursor to rezoning and I agree with staff that a rezoning, even site-specific, is not the way to go. Also, the purpose of a TUP is to give the applicant time to determine if his operation is acceptable to the neighbours, and the community. He has operated his business there for about 7 years and judging by the avalanche of letters of support he has more than proved his worth to the public and the community.
In the not so distant past, I was the Area C RDOS Director elected for 3 terms and was Chair of the RDOS Planning and Development Committee where I was heavily involved with implementing the Agricultural Area Plan for Area C, OCP amendments and the Regional District’s Regional Growth Strategy, all heavily slanted to protecting, promoting and preserving all things agriculture and agriculture-related. Backyard Farm does a superlative job in not only complying but complementing, promoting and educating locals and tourists alike to all of the provisions and directions that we hoped to achieve.
One other thing about the definition of eating and drinking establishment. This is not a restaurant or eating and drinking establishment it far more resembles a catering business where his patrons either go to his establishment or he goes to theirs and it is not open to the public; it is by appointment only. Further, he only operates the business on average 2 days a week, more in summer, less in winter. I don’t know of any eating and drinking establishment that operates like this. He doesn’t serve alcohol but brings in local wineries and educates his patrons on food – wine pairings along with extensive promotion of all things local and fresh and he does it beautifully. He does more to promote our areas fine offerings than anyone or any tourist association could possibly do. It would be a terrible travesty to lose such a valuable asset in the South Okanagan. All of us need to do whatever is necessary to have his business remain in place for the duration of his presence at this location.
In speaking with Chris, the fact that the home residence and the home based business is separated by subdivision is a technicality easily remedied and the Board can place a condition of approval of a home
based business once the subdivision has been dealt with satisfactorily. I suggest that the Chair of the APC recommend to the Board that the proper designation for this operation is a home based business and that the permit for the deck be forgiven due to the Provincial regulations set out for Covid-19.