UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An information system for governmental land use and development regulations: a client-oriented prototype using hypertext links Pare, Sebastien


Like several cities and districts in British Columbia, the Corporation of the District of North Vancouver has experienced budget cutbacks and a downturn in permit revenues in recent years. The District needs to do more with fewer resources. Like other local governments, the District identifies Customer Assistance as a major strategy to improve accessibility to planning information to both staff and clients. The Corporation of the District of North Vancouver's Experimental Information System for Governmental Land Use and Development Regulations is intended to answer the most commonly needed planning information about getting land use and development regulation for any given property / lot / area. It is especially intended for those unfamiliar with the regulation nomenclature and policy process. It is also intended for policy staff, land owners, developers, nearby residents, and municipal or senior government staff responsible for administrating regulations and providing information to the public. The District of North Vancouver's experimental computer-based kiosk uses hypertext links and related software to coordinate, select and display information from a variety of text documents such as by-laws and regulations; a GIS (Geographic Information System) that includes map layers with land parcel boundaries, roads and other rights-of-way, topography and zoning districts; site plans and other information accessed through a CAD (Computer Assisted Drafting) program used in connection with development permit applications as well as infrastructure projects; and data base files such as registers of easements and property tax assessment information. Practically, if the land parcel selected is within 30 metres of a stream, its development is regulated by provincial regulations as well as municipal zoning. The prototype uses a GIS to check both zoning and proximity to streams, and displays only the provisions that are applicable to that site. This selectivity is important in making a mass of regulations comprehensible to users with a particular question or issue in mind. A unique feature of this system is that it selects only the information that is relevant to a selected location, and within that, leaves details such as definitions and specifics of regulations in the background which stay available through interaction with the user. This respects the user's interests and his or her current position on a learning curve. This way of providing information facilitates the eventual face-to-face contact between a client and planning staff. The hands-on information provided helps both parties to communicate more effectively as they have a common basic knowledge of the issue to be discussed which helps to speed up application permit processes. Development of the computer system has been carried to the level of a working prototype system that shows the concept can be implemented and has merit. While this research and development project was initiated as a M . Sc. thesis in Planning, it is now ready to be transferred to a B.C. municipality or company for full-scale development and implementation.

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