New rules on zoning

At its September public meeting TBL Council adopted a series of amendments to its bylaws in order, for the most part, to harmonize them with those of the Brome Missisquoi MRC.

The changes will affect work on shorelines and wetlands, tree cutting, minimum vegetation required on new lots and will ban most work on more than 30 degree slopes. To do this the town will be able to resort to a PIIA. (PIIA is a bylaw allowing an exception for a better integration of a project and assessment of specific cases – while meeting bylaws’ requirements.)

Bylaw 595-1 on land management – Many of the general dispositions of this bylaw are covered in the following bylaws on zoning, subdivision and construction.

Bylaw 596-4 on zoning – Some definitions set sizes of trees, wetlands, ditches, slopes, etc. This has an impact on what is permitted or not. Shorelines are set at a depth of between 10 and 20 metres depending on slopes and location. Wetlands, no matter their size or connection to a water system, will have to be assessed for ecological value before any work can be undertaken on them. It will no longer be possible to build an access road, get heavy equipment or cut trees of more than 12 cm in diameter in areas where the slope is more than 30 degrees. A minimum number of trees will be required on new residential properties. These are just some of the newly-enacted zoning changes.

Bylaw 597-3 and -4 – on subdivision – New roads or construction near a waterway must be accompanied by a plan to identify, amongst others, wetlands, steep slopes and necessary protection measures. Some flexibility is introduced to allow subdivision of land occupied by adjoining residential properties without having to create new lots.

Bylaw 598-2 on construction – It is no longer permissible to build or maintain a ditch located within 20 metres of a lake, waterway or wetland. If the work is technically necessary, the vegetation has to be restored afterwards.

Given the complexity of the changes and to ensure proper observance of bylaws, it is advisable to check with the town before starting any construction project.