Town planning manager Riley Weldon says the major overhaul of the land-use bylaw is on the verge of entering the research phase after several months of review and engagement.

Weldon says a number of issues and concerns were identified in their extensive consultation that included several public events as well as discussions with stakeholder groups, including, among others, the development and construction industry and the Cochrane Municipal Planning Commission. He's impressed with the amount of feedback they did receive in the town's comprehensive review of its land-use bylaw since 2004.

"We will have identified a number of concerns and issues and things that need to be addressed in our land-use bylaw by the end of this (consultation) phase," says Weldon.

"In this next phase, we will ultimately be  taking that information and researching and coming up with different options on how we can address those issues and concerns that were raised."

Exactly what those issues are will be flushed out in a presentation expected to be made to town council on Jan. 28.

According to the original timelines laid out in March 2017, the new bylaw is expected to be adopted by the end of November 2019, following public hearings and approval of town council.

Some changes are already being pursued even before this occurs.

Recently the setback was reduced for R1 residential properties to 1.2 metres from 1,5 metres. Over the next few months, changes will also be brought forward for consideration by town council for land-use rules surrounding day homes and accessory suites.

Weldon says they also aim to update the regulations for day homes in hopes of making them a better fit for residential communities. The proposed amendments will clarify some of the definitions and the expectations for neighbours, especially around parking, signage and advertising, define type of residence suitable for day homes and density of this business type.

The issue came to a head last June when an appeal filed in opposition to a new Riversong neighbourhood day home made headlines. It was later withdrawn.

The update for accessory suites is to clarify locations, numbers of units allowed and parking requirements to improve the fit with existing communities.

The residential and commercial developments have taken off since 2004 and that's largely reflected in the town's population growth to an estimated 29,000 people from 12,500.

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