Qualicum Beach residents had another chance to share their concerns regarding a 16-lot subdivision development located at 850 Eaglecrest Dr./2075 Island Highway.
A public hearing was held on April 27 to discuss new information regarding the independent land lift analysis conducted on the 6.4-acre property. It was commissioned by town council on Feb. 24, 2021 as they considered the appraised land value to be lower than nearby properties.
The independent review conducted by Coriolis Consulting Corporation concluded the estimated land value is between $320,000 and $640,000 under current zoning. If rezoned to permit the proposed 16-lot subdivision, the value goes up to between $2.2 million to $2.5 million, which would mean the Community Amenity Contribution of the developers to the town would be between $780,000 to $1,090,000, which staff deemed reasonable under town’s current policy.
Staff recommended the highest CAC amount of $1,090,000. The previous two appraisals came in at $480,000.
The developers of the project have an application to the town to rezone the area from Residential 1 (R1) to Residential 12 (R12) and change Subdivision District B designation to Subdivision District D to allow the project to proceed. They also applied to have the Official Community Plan amended as the land is designated Estate Residential and is outside the Urban Containment Boundary.
Linda Todsen, one of the owners of Todsen Design and Construction Ltd., which plans to develop the property, indicated they find staff’s CAC contribution recommendation to be excessive compared to other municipalities but they have chosen to move ahead.
“We are accepting of this choice,” Todsen told council at the hearing. “For anyone who believes this evaluation is too high or not high enough, please consider that you can still work towards adjusting the CAC policy in the future.”
There were close to 30 people who expressed their views at the hearing, with a majority speaking against allowing the proposed development to proceed. There were 15 who opposed the project and 10 in support.
“The policies of the OCP protect and strengthen the town’s rural economy and lifestyle,” said Pat Jacobson. “Rural land uses play a key role in the future of the town. They provide a green buffer for urban uses, have a high ecological value, form a part of the identity of the town of which the Estate Residential lands play a key role and provide the land reserved for the future production of food.”
There were also residents who supported the development.
Kari Knutson highlighted the housing crisis due to the increasing cost of homes.
“Affordable housing is one thing, housing options for those who don’t qualify for traditional affordable housing projects is another,” said Knutson. “Housing is not a one-size fits all situation and it needs to be treated that way when looking to increase our supply.”
Staff has recommended the proposed OCP bylaw and zoning amendment application be given third reading. Council has yet to vote on the recommendation.