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The Amherst News - 2020-03-25

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How the land-use bylaw process works

SPORTS

Don Fletcher Don Fletcher is the councillor for District 10 for the Municipality of Cumberland

Recently, I have had an issue in my district concerning bylaws due to land use and changes to the land’s use. It's an important issue because it impacts citizens in many different ways. All public council minutes are published on the Cumberland County website (www.cumberlandcounty.ns.ca) and can be viewed by anyone with an internet connection. I would encourage citizens to become more aware of what is happening throughout Cumberland County by either attending our council sessions, normally the first and third Wednesdays of the month in council chambers starting at 6 p.m., or by familiarizing themselves with the website. If planning to attend, make sure the meeting is open as many things are closing to the public as precautions to the Coronavirus. Most everything council does is by way of process as dictated by the Municipal Government Act. This is the governance body that we must follow. In the case of the land-use bylaw, a citizen will contact our planning department with the issue they want addressed. Staff will research and, if doable, will bring to council with a recommendation. Council will receive a presentation from staff and vote on first reading and pass by motion. Staff will then publish this information in the local paper, twice announcing the change and when the public hearing will be heard in council. The warden will open the public hearing where the public can have their say and ask if there are any written statements. If there are no issues the public hearing will be closed and council will proceed with a vote. Once the vote is taken, the results are again published as notice of adoption. For the past seven years I have written this column with my take on what happened the evening before at council and I have encouraged citizens to become more engaged. With the new changes to council this fall I again encourage all citizens to get engaged. I hope this helps. As my grandfather would say, it’s too late to close the barn door after the horse is already out!

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