Parksville city council re-issued a development permit for the first phase of what was called “one of the largest developments we’ve ever had.”
That’s what councillor Marc Lefebvre called the original proposal for the 261 home Cedar Ridge Estates between Church and Renz Roads, when council first gave the go ahead in April 2009.
Most councillors spoke against it at the time but then had to vote for it because the land was pre-zoned for single family development in 1994.
Then-mayor Ed Mayne said council is legally bound to approve applications that meet the zoning and legal requirements. They only have leverage when a zoning change is required.
“So basically what we’re saying is that most of us don’t agree with (this development) but we’re going to vote for it because our hands are tied,” Coun. Sue Powell summed up at the time.
The permit was good for two years, but the market didn’t support it and Keith Brown and Associates re-applied on behalf of the property owners.
“It’s a very big project,” said director of community planning Gayle Jackson at Monday’s council meeting, explaining it is not unusual to have to re-issue a permit, and that a new application fee was charged.
With “some minor adjustments” the report from staff said the proposal still meets the guidelines and that “the Local Government Act does not provide council with the discretionary ability to ultimately deny permit issuance.”
The changes include altering the sidewalk design and altering a path route across the property, but also the addition of a five meter wide buffer zone as dedicated park between the development and agricultural land.
They were also granted a variance to relax the front yard setback from 7.5 to 4.5 metres, which Jackson said was a more modern design allowing for bigger back yards.
The Phase 1 plan calls for 33 single family homes on the Humphrey Road side, with more houses and multi-family buildings that would require re-zoning, planned for the future.
An audience member asked about the impact of more vehicle traffic. Jackson said a lot of work went into establishing a traffic circle at Church and Humphrey Roads and Keith Brown said they put a lane behind the planned houses to keep parking and driveways off the street.