A visit to the Design Advisory Panel Thurs. May 13 ’09

NanaimoCityHall blog intends, over time, to follow closely the work done by the City’s advisory panels and committees. Ron has reported on the powerful Finance/Policy Committee of the Whole which meets alternate Mondays in the City Hall board room. He’s also pointed out – and commended the City for – the detailed information about these committees that has been posted on the City’s website. We’re linking this detail, as we cover each committee, on the Committees and Commissions page. These committees and commissions and panels are very influential in the City decision making process. A recommendation from one generally results in Council’s approval.

I sat in on the Design Advisory Panel meeting on Thursday 13th. Here’s its Terms of Reference.

From the Terms of Reference :

“Plan Nanaimo (OCP) has devised a number of design guidelines to assist development to meet community objectives. Part 26 of the Local Government Act assumes an advisory body will advise Council in the evaluation of projects requiring development permits. The design community has a role to play in assisting new developments to respect the existing built form landscape of the community.

In this context, these Terms of Reference identify a mandate for the Design Advisory Panel. The mandate is an invitation to the City’s design community to become involved in moulding on-going developments to meet the unique urban design environment of Nanaimo.

The Design Advisory Panel’s primary objective is to review Form and Character Development Permit applications and provide advice by way of recommendations to staff in its negotiations with applicants.

Objectives of the Design Advisory Panel

• To assist Council in establishing guidelines to ensure that the form and character of future development is of a standard quality which meets the needs of the community.

• To evaluate the development proposals in relation to design guidelines and provide its recommendations in relation to same.

• To encourage a high standard of project design and construction through educational programs and award programs recognizing projects which demonstrate innovative and high standards of urban design and landscaping.

• To provide advice to Council on actions which can be taken to improve the appearance of the City.”

The panel is made up of volunteers from these areas.

♦ 2 Architects

♦ 1 Designer

♦ 1 Landscape Architect

♦ 3 members of the general public

♦ 1 member from the Nanaimo Heritage Advisory Commission (NHAC) (for downtown projects, as required)

They work closely with City Development Approval Planner, Gary Noble assisted by Planning Clerk, Development Services Division, Heidi Davidson.

That’s some background and context. My next post will fill in some detail about items on the agenda of this meeting.

Frank Murphy