Rezoning debate digs through procedure

City council’s discussion on a zoning amendment bylaw Monday quickly turned to the legislative process of approving such a bylaw.

Arne Petryshen

City council’s discussion on a zoning amendment bylaw Monday quickly turned to the legislative process of approving such a bylaw. Earlier in the meeting, a public hearing was convened on the zoning amendment bylaw, which there was one individual from a local strata speaking against the amendment.

The amendment itself was up for third reading and adoption, and effectively rezones the subject property from Residential Transition Zone: RT to Cluster Development Zone: R3, for the purpose of future residential development.

Terry Segarty, on behalf of Terrim Property Management Ltd applied for the amendment to the zoning bylaw. The 0.9 hectare property is located at 100 – 10th Street South.

City staff noted the property is currently undeveloped and is a mix of mature coniferous and deciduous trees with an undergrowth of shrubs and grasses.

The applicant is proposing to develop five single storey duplex units with basements on five individual parcels. However, the R3 zoning does open up the possibility of building up to 24 units on the property.

Coun. Wesly Graham brought up the question of process of the public hearing and concerns from the public.

“Do we get a chance to ask the proponent more information? Or does staff provide us information that might answer that question,” Graham asked. He also asked how staff can provide information after the public hearing is closed and they are not supposed to receive new information or submissions.

Graham specifically wondered whether they could ask the proponent questions regarding concerns brought up in the public hearing, around the number of units planned.

Rob Veg, the city planner, said he could not answer any more questions.

“All the information that we have was presented in the council package,” Veg said. “And as far as trying to get additional information, I think from a process perspective, that would be considered new information. In which case we would probably have to go back to public hearing and do the whole process over again.”

Coun. Danielle Cardozo noted that in terms of the concerns brought forward, the application seemed straightforward.

“We were asked, is it just going to be five units? I think that it is simply going to be five units.”

Veg noted that there is five proposed now.

“But the property, if adopted, will be zoned R3, which would allow for cluster developments, so plans could change,” Veg said.

Coun. Ron Popoff said the concerns about potential higher density development also came up in the Planning and Development committee meeting he was a part of on the matter.

“We’re making a call on this today, and yet something could change beyond what that proposal is right now,” Popoff said.

Coun. Isaac Hockley however was not worried.

“To my understanding the developer brought forward the plans with the five units,” Hockley said. “So if the developer has brought these plans forward, he’s paid to have these plans.”

Hockley noted the developer is likely ready to build the buildings, and so it’s unlikely he would pursue a higher density development.

“Sure, in five, ten years, if he wants to change it he could add more units because of the zoning change, but that’s not his plan,” Hockley said.

Aside from the resident representing the nearby strata complex, there were no other submissions on the matter.

Veg noted that parking is also covered by the zoning, and each dwelling unit typically requires two parking stalls on site.

Mayor Lee Pratt asked about the development permit.

“When the development permit comes forward, if it’s changed — we’re assuming right now it’s for five duplexes, if the development permit comes forth and is changed to something else, what would be council’s options on that,” Pratt asked.

Veg said that as long as the developer is consistent with zoning and Official Community Plan guidelines, council would have no say on the matter.

“So basically it’s in good faith,” Pratt said.

Coun. Tom Shypitka agreed with Coun. Hockley that it would be very unlikely that the proponent changes their development plan at this stage.

Council adopted the zoning amendment bylaw.