The District of Lantzville will not advance the Village South application as is.
District council, at a meeting Wednesday, May 4, voted unanimously to refer the application back to staff to try to “improve” the plan.
The applicant, Lantzville Projects Ltd., had proposed a special area plan to build 730 residential units and shops on 23.3 hectares along Lantzville, Ware and Wiles roads. A public hearing last month suggested strong opposition from residents.
“I think in many ways, this proposal meets the OCP. It supports a vibrant village, there’s green space and pathways. The most important thing, in my mind, it supports a diversity of housing which we don’t have in Lantzville right now,” said Coun. Karen Proctor. “However, there is huge opposition to this proposal the way it is now.”
It was Coun. Jamie Wilson who made the motion to refer the application back to staff “to work with the developer to improve their application and address the community’s concerns” such as density, drainage and Lantzville School Road access, and “apply stronger language” around guaranteeing affordable housing and seniors’ assisted living.
“I’m summarizing a lot of the input from residents and I believe that that is a good step towards trying to help this be a successful application for the future of Lantzville,” Wilson said.
Mayor Mark Swain suggested he wasn’t sure the motion was necessary, as the developer would need to work with staff no matter what decision council made, but he ultimately supported it. He said Lantzville’s OCP is already “out of date” in some ways in regards to language around affordable housing and hopes the next Village South proposal can help remedy that.
“The whole purpose of doing an OCP amendment, and especially as part of this application, is to do an OCP rewrite and it’s just in relation to this area…” Swain said. “We’re rewriting our OCP, so why not include strong language in there and policy statements about the sorts of things we want to see in our community? It’s that straightforward.”
Proctor reflected on the public process and said Lantzville, as a community, won’t be able to move forward and make collaborative decisions if it continues to spend its time “opposing each other in an inappropriate way” during disagreements.
“We need to come up with a solution that we’re all proud of and right now this development is not that and we’re not anywhere close to it and we need to start thinking about how we’re going to behave as a community so that we can move forward and come up with a unanimous decision where everyone feels comfortable in their home,” she said.
At the start of the meeting, Coun. Ian Savage put forward an amendment to try to cap the project’s density at 475 units, including 100 seniors’ dwellings, but the motion was defeated with councillors Proctor, Wilson and Will Geselbracht opposed.