The Agricultural Land Reserve, or ALR, is a land classification that has been around in BC for decades, as it was created 50 years ago (in 1973). Most people know it has something to do with farmland, but what is the ALR exactly? Can you build in the ALR zone? What does it mean to own land in the ALR?
According to the BC Government: The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial land zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are restricted. ALR land makes up 5% of BC's total land-base.
This does not mean you can't simply live on ALR property. There is no requirement to farm, however there are restrictions on what else you can do on the land. Keep in mind that most ALR land is in an agriculture-rich area, so even if you are not farming your land it is probable that properties around you are being used for agricultural purposes.
Properties within the ALR should have it noted on their titles, although the Agriculture Land Commission (who oversees the ALR) warns that this is not definitive. Mapping is a help in determining what land is within the ALR as well, and the ALC website hosts a number of mapping applications.
The Vancouver Island region has ALR land in a number of areas, including in what might be thought of as rural residential areas close to urban centres, so it is good to do your homework when it comes to owning property in this distinct land class. This is something we research on our listings and provide mapping information for if a property does sit within the ALR.
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