Council rezones property in spite of concerns

Two residents of Cranbrook spoke against the rezoning of the 7.8 hectare property at 6th Street NW.

Despite concerns expressed by two residents regarding the proposed rezoning of a property located in the city’s industrial area, council went ahead with the third reading and adoption of the bylaw amendment.

City staff recommended that council adopt the rezoning of the land located at 6th Street NW, which will enable consideration of subdivision and residential development of the property. The property is located just up the hill from Farbrook Auto Wrecking.

Chris Taylor, the owner of Farbrook Auto Wrecking, was one of the residents that came forward. He said the wrecker has been there since 1961 and he purchased it 23 years ago.

“Where it is is pretty much where we have to have it because we can exist, but we can’t grow,” Taylor said. “There is no other piece of property in Cranbrook that allows auto wrecking or salvage. I can’t expand so I’m kind of limited to what I have.”

Taylor said they’ve had problems from other residents complaining about the noise and smell during crushing operations. He said they have strategically placed the crusher in certain areas to minimize any issues with neighbours.

“To put a development on the upper side of our property we would have to make some more arrangements,” he said. “But with the smell and the noise, because we are a recycler and we have to dispose of the unwanted waste — there might be a problem down the road with people not wanting us there.”

Coun. Tom Skypitka said that Taylor made some very rational points.

“I’d like to know a little more on exactly what his issues may be.”

The other resident was Anne Beurskens, who lives on 5th Avenue South.

“There is clearly a need for low cost housing in Cranbrook, like the one on Baker Hill, situated in the centre of our town. However, this proposal places low-cost housing right at the perimeter of our town at a distance of four kilometres from the city centre, and a similar distance from the box stores,” she said.

Beurskens also noted that the development is on a steep slope not far from the wrecker.

“Is this a logical location to build low-cost housing?” she asked.

Beurskens said that while developers have the right to request rezoning and subdivision of parcels within city limits, it’s the responsibility of council to minimize service and maintenance costs to the taxpayer.

Beurskens asked if all options for low cost housing have been researched.

“Perhaps there are better places for low-cost housing,” she said.

Coun. Norma Blissett noted that from what she heard, Beurskins was concerned about the taxpayer being accountable for costs the way it has happened in previous developments.

“They don’t want that to happen again,” Blissett said. “We will have sufficient holdback to make sure that doesn’t happen?”

CAO Wayne Staudt said the city does require holdback to make sure that services are installed as part of the development.

“Sometimes things don’t work out the way you planned,” he said. “But generally most developers in the city have bore the cost of installing water and sewer lines, and we have not had any major problems.”

Staudt said the city planners will have discussions with the developer regarding the issues with the proximity to the wrecking yard when the actual development is presented.

Council passed the third reading unanimously.

Coun. Wesly Graham said he wanted to postpone the adoption because he wasn’t comfortable with it.

“I think it would give us more time to do a bit of research into some of the concerns raised,” Graham said, adding that in Creston there are complaints from new residents about the brewery despite it being there for many years before the new residents arrived.

Coun. Tom Shypitka agreed, saying he had not considered some of the things Taylor brought up when they passed the first two readings.

“He’s got a genuine concern that the coexistence between his business, which he’s been operating for many years, can’t rationally exist with the rezoning for some residential housing there,” Shypitka said. “To me it sounds valid.”

Mayor Lee Pratt said that prolonging it was akin to spinning their wheels.

“I think we should carry on with it — approve it  — and let the planning department deal with the developer, and Mr. Taylor as well, and answer some of his concerns and see where it goes,” Pratt said.

Graham and Shypitka voted against adopting the bylaw.

Staudt noted that the bylaw only rezones the property for development.

“There will be all kinds of opportunity to address what the development looks like going forward, to address Mr. Taylor and his concerns, there will be opportunity for that,” Staudt said.