The District of Lantzville got an earful from the public last night about the proposed Village South development.
The district held a public hearing Wednesday, April 13, regarding the proposal from Lantzville Projects Ltd. to build shops and approximately 730 homes – both single-family houses and multi-family dwellings – close to the village core along Ware, Lantzville and Wiles roads.
Lantzville’s official community plan anticipates density of about 350 housing units and 100 seniors’ supportive units in that part of the district, but the land is classified as a special area plan, so whatever plan moves forward will form part of the OCP.
Of the 33 speakers at Wednesday’s public hearing, only four expressed support for the project. Earlier in the week, the municipality was presented with a 1,100-signature petition asking the District of Lantzville to stick to the anticipated density mentioned in the OCP.
Lantzville resident Luke McLeod, speaking at the public hearing, noted that community members provided input on density numbers when participating in the OCP process.
“Even though they are anticipated and perhaps not a density maximum, doubling them is far from what we, the community, understood in that process,” he said.
Another resident, James Dale, appealed to council to ask for a proposal that’s more in line with what the people of Lantzville want.
“I believe people are smart, they aren’t misinformed, they know what’s going on and what’s important to them and I think you should surely consider the view of this many people,” Dale said.
Lantzville resident Hans Larsen said there is no rationale strong enough to justify the density requested in the application.
“What actual proof did the applicant provide to the district that this number of units is absolutely necessary to create a vibrant and sustainable village?” he asked.
Resident Jonathan Lerner, who has announced an intention to run for district council this fall, said people he’s spoken with are most concerned about density, but said he’s also heard concerns about environmental and financial sustainability.
“This development will be the most life-altering project Lantzville has seen in generations. We get one chance to do it right,” he said.
Another resident, Ursula Vaira, suggested the application represents a developer’s vision to reshape Lantzville’s future and isn’t community-minded.
“There are plenty of spaces elsewhere for people of all kinds of vision to build and to live,” she said.
One of the speakers in favour of the application was Wayne Richmond, an owner of the 49th Parallel grocery store chain, who said his company is interested in Lantzville Village South as its next location.
Evan Peterson of Barefoot Planning and Design, speaking on behalf of the applicant Lantzville Projects Ltd., stressed that anticipated density is not the same as maximum density, “and at this point, these numbers are very outdated and they’re not based on any good planning principles that I can attest to.”
He said residents’ concerns about traffic, parking, geotechnical considerations and stormwater drainage have been addressed by professionals and would be dealt with accordingly in future development permitting stages.
“This is the time for council to make brave decisions in the face of aggressive opposition, which I believe is founded upon misinformation, scare tactics and entitlement,” he said. “We’re in a new world now and have a responsibility to do the right thing for the future of the community.”
District council is expected to vote on the OCP and zoning amendment bylaws next month.