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City of Powell River Council to consider rezoning proposal for eight-property subdivision

Proposal calls for rezoning 1.1-acre city property into eight lots
PROSPECTIVE SUBDIVISION: City of Powell River councillors heard a proposal at a committee of the whole meeting to rezone a property on Garibaldi Place into higher-density housing.

City of Powell River councillors heard a proposal for rezoning a 1.1-acre city property into an eight-property subdivision.

At the September 21 committee of the whole meeting, director of planning services Jason Gow outlined the proposal to rezone a vacant property at 4304 Garibaldi Place, near Glacier Street. Gow told councillors the property, on which the single home was demolished in July, is currently zoned R2 (single and two family residential).

“The applicant is proposing to create eight lots, making this the biggest comprehensive development four (CD4) development we’ve seen, other than Edgehill Crescent, where more than 80 residential small lots are in the process of being built out,” said Gow.

According to a report from Gow, the R2 zone has a minimum parcel size of 730 square metres, whereas the CD4 zone permits lots as small as 300 square metres.

“The owner of the property has applied to zone to CD4 to achieve greater subdivision potential,” said Gow. “From a land-use perspective, the rezoning to a higher density residential zone is in keeping with the urban residential low density land use designation established in the sustainable official community plan. That plan has objectives and policies that support this type of application.”

Gow said the application is also supported by many policies in the integrated community sustainability plan. He said he had attached a draft amendment bylaw to the committee’s agenda.

“My recommendation is to move this application forward to the next council meeting to give the draft bylaw first and second reading, and direct planning staff to schedule a public hearing,” said Gow.

He said he expects neighbours may have concerns about redevelopment of this property.

“It is one of the last heavily treed properties in the neighbourhood and I expect those living in close proximity have enjoyed this feature,” said Gow. “I believe this prospect of changing may be challenging for some. I expect some will have concerns about additional density at this location.

“I will point out that the public hearing will be an opportunity for people concerned to come forward and express those concerns to members of council before you make a decision.”

Councillor questions services

Councillor George Doubt said he had a question about Gow’s report, which stated that engineering services highlight that the presence of city infrastructure does not imply capacity to service the proposed development. The report stated additionally that offsite services may have to be increased at a cost to the developer.

“My question is how far might that increase in the size of the facilities be?” asked Doubt. “Will it be on the street in front of the property, or would it perhaps be all of the way to an intersection where higher capacity services were available?”

Gow said when dealing with higher density developments, often, engineering staff will require modelling to be done and that’s where there would be a more in-depth look.

“I think this is just a referral comment to highlight for the developer that even if they get rezoning, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is capacity there and they should anticipate offsite works and services to be required at the time they subdivide,” added Gow.

Doubt said what he takes from that is if this subdivision was improved, there could be some significant cost to the developer for improving services.

Gow said those costs would be borne by the developer and not the city.

Mayor Dave Formosa said he is in full support of the proposal.

“If you just look at a bunch of the facts, we’ve been pushing for many years to densify and get more tax base,” said Formosa.

He said housing generally has a high cost, although he recently had people at his house who told him that a new home in his subdivision he showed them was not expensive.

“I almost fell over; that particular house was in the $700,000 range,” said Formosa. “However, we know the pressure is on the community. Smaller lots and smaller houses are more affordable. They might even be level entry for more seniors to have opportunity, and less cost to get into them while using less space.

“These are all the things we’ve been talking about for years. I think we’re going in the right direction. It’s not going to put that much pressure on the streets. We’re getting inundated with new people.”

The committee voted to send the matter to city council on October 7.