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Talking T-Zones: Revelstoke
on Path to New Zoning

Jun 11, 2010

Friday afternoon’s presentation by the PlaceMakers consulting team wrapped four intensive days of community collaboration on key elements of a new Unified Development Bylaw. Though it was the final event in the week’s charrette , it also marked the start of a new phase in Revelstoke’s transition from growth guided by conventional, use-based zoning to a new approach that stresses character and context .

The closing presentation by team leader Geoff Dyer summed up the week’s efforts . Working from the mandates embedded in the Official Community Plan (OCP) , the project team created a Regulating Plan , assigning sections of Revelstoke to “transect zones” organized around Revelstoke-appropriate look and feel rather than building uses. For a full description of form-based zoning and the Transect concept, see Dyer’s explanation here .

This June 20, 2010, draft of the new bylaw's regulating plan demonstrates the T-Zone designation for each property. Click for larger view.

Dyer’s team also developed model scenarios for a half-dozen sites in Revelstoke to demonstrate how T-zone concepts play out in real places. Citizens got a peek at some of those demonstration projects during the Thursday-night Open House . Most got warm receptions, but a couple demonstration plans sparked controversy, especially among some residents of Arrow Heights, who were vehement that properties near their homes not be developed unless new development replicated the form already there.

After hearing the concerns of Arrow Heights home owners on Thursday, Dyer and his designers tweaked the demonstration sketches to ease the transition from the T-3 sub-urban context of existing homes to a more dense and mixed-use portion of the study area. “But the whole point,” said Dyer, “is to be true to the commitment in Revelstoke’s OCP to seek opportunities for more compact, walkable, mixed-use neighbourhoods. The Arrow Heights seemed ideal to test those goals.”

While it was clear not all the Arrow Heights residents in attendance on Friday bought the OCP-related argument, Dyer was pleased the team was well on its way to accomplishing one key goal. In just four days, the vocabulary of zoning in Revelstoke changed from commercial-residential-industrial to the new form-based language.

“That’s a credit to citizens in this community,” said Dyer. “They listened. They did their homework by reading up on the website. And they came to our meetings ready to talk about T-zones. Even those who didn’t always agree with us about what should be T-3 or T-4 accepted the language of form-based bylaws and made their cases based on the framework of the Transect.”

There was very little push-back on most other ideas, especially the teams suggestions for the MacKenzie Gateway. Over time, with the application of zone-appropriate design, the Gateway could transform into a showplace of mixed-use urbanity in character with Revelstoke. A PlaceMakers produced series of images showed how street design, architecture, and building forms could evolve into a welcoming streetscape.

This site plan and animated sequence demonstrate a gateway treatment that could be applied to the intersection of Mackenzie and Victoria under the proposed code.

So what’s next?

The PlaceMakers consultants return to their offices and tweak the proposed Bylaw for submission to city staffers in August. After a round of revisions, a refined draft will find its way into Revelstoke’s existing public comment and approval process. And how would development submittals operate, should the Bylaw be enacted? The flow chart below, clickable for larger view, indicates the steps.

As drafts and updates become available, they’ll be posted here on the website. So stay in touch. And, as always, we welcome your questions and comments in the space below.

2 Responses to “Talking T-Zones: Revelstoke
on Path to New Zoning”


  1. How do more industrial uses fit into the zones? Under Building Function I see residence, lodging, office and retail. So what about a motorhome rental company or a golf course or a carpenter or plumbing shop, how do they fit in?

  2. Revelstoke UDB says:

    Hi, Lisa. The basis for the transect zones is allowing those things that make reasonable sense in or can contribute to a neighbourhood rather than having everything separated into single use zones. For uses that are inherently single-use such as industrial, large recreational areas, and large public utlities, we use a “special district” which will likely defer to, or reflect, the land use districts already established for those uses. In terms of a plumbing shop or a carpenter- if they are a small operation they can often go within T5 without a problem. When they get big and start to act more like light industrial, then they would go into an indusrial special district.



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  • Headline

    Revelstoke Logo

    In his introduction to Revelstoke’s Official Community Plan (OCP), adopted in July of 2009, Mayor David Raven makes a promise: “This is not a ‘whatever will be, will be’ plan, for the future is ours to see.”

    The mission now: Enable the OCP’s forward-looking vision, goals and policies with a regulatory approach that will ensure their implementation.

    “What we were able to do in our OCP was to establish key principles to guide our growth and redevelopment,” said Revelstoke planning director John Guenther. “That step had to come first. We had to say: ‘This is who we are. And this is how we intend to grow into our future.’

    “With that foundation established, we’re ready for the next phase, which is to embed our guiding principles into a legal framework,” said Guenther. “That’s what this process is all about.”

    This process is a collaborative one, partnering City officials and staff, Revelstoke citizens and stakeholders, and an international consulting team .

    The main event is an intensive, multi-day, collaborative public workshop called a charrette (see video), June 8-11. Out of the workshop will come the essential elements of a new Unified Development Bylaw (UDB).

    “Just as we developed the principles in the OCP together as a community, we’ll take this next big step together, as well,” said Guenther. “With the OCP to guide us, we can now focus on exactly what we need in the new bylaw to get us where we want to go. Citizens will have a good idea of what will be in that new bylaw by the end of our June charrette.”

    For background on the goals that will set the charrette agenda, go right to the source – the OCP. You can read the complete OCP here (4mb .pdf). Many of the goals fall under these broad mandates:

    > Recognize and honor Revelstoke’s unique heritage, both in terms of the natural environment and our architectural traditions.

    > Assure community affordability for a broad range of incomes and life stages.

    > Maintain inclusiveness and transparency in all community planning processes.

    > Align local goals for sustainability – environmentally, socially, and economically – with global goals.

    > “Act locally/think globally.”