Qualicum Beach subdivision debate includes OCP talk

Although there are more than 30 letters of support, a rezoning proposal is experiencing opposition among QB residents and council.

Although there are more than 30 letters of support, a rezoning proposal for 629 Maple Street is still experiencing opposition among Qualicum Beach residents and town council.

On Monday night there was a public hearing at Qualicum Beach town council for the proposed subdivision. The gallery was packed for the hearing and four people got up to speak about the proposal, which essentially divides one lot into two.

Charna Macfie was one of the people who addressed council. She said the Official Community Plan talks about directing density in the Village Neighbourhood, adding that Maple Street is outside of the Village Neighbourhood boundary.

She asked council what that means for residential neighbourhoods in the future and if the town will be “perceived of encouraging densification outside the Village Neighbourhood boundary contrary to policies in the OCP.”

“Particularly, the policy that land designated as single family residential will not exceed development densities of 12 dwellings per hectare. It says that right in the OCP, and I thought that was very clear from my understanding that . . . the subdivision does not comply,” Macfie said.

Later on in the meeting, Qualicum Beach director of planning Luke Sales said that the policies of the OCP are in place to guide the decision making.

“I would never say they’re put in place to make decisions in advance because there’s always nuances,” Sales said. “For example, this particular development is so close to the boundary of the Village Neighbourhood if it were a half a block away, you could have seven units on it, so is two small-scale houses appropriate to that boundary? In the opinion of staff, yes it is. It’s an appropriate transition.”

Resident Kevin Monahan said he supports the subdivision.

“What we have to consider, is we have a situation here where people have different readings of what the OCP says, and this says to me it’s not a problem with the subdivision, it’s a problem with the OCP and the OCP should have regular clarity built into it,” Monahan said.

John Larson, who spoke on behalf of the applicant, said that the property owner made an effort with the neighbours, going door-to-door.

“I think the more than 30 letters of support that were provided is evidence that what was requested got overwhelming support from the community for the project,” Larson said, adding that of those 30 letters, five were from immediate neighbours.

Brian Gaensbauer, who shares a property line with the Maple Street subdivision and has been talking to the property owner, said he is in favour of the development as long as it is only one-storey high.

Council passed third reading to a bylaw amendment that limits the development to one-storey structures. The debate on the rezoning continues. The next regular council meeting is Monday, May 16 at 7 p.m.

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