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280-unit development in Lantzville will proceed to public hearing

Mayor says Clark/Medd properties affect municipality’s future
An artist’s rendering of residential development on the Clark Drive property, part of a larger Clark/Medd proposal subject to an official community plan and zoning bylaw amendment application before District of Lantzville council. (Lantzville Projects Ltd. image)

Lantzville residents will get to have their say as council considers whether to approve a 280-unit residential development.

An official community plan and zoning bylaw amendment application for the Clark/Medd properties – three parcels of land totalling 21.6 hectares close to the Island Highway and Ware Road – received first and second reading at meetings in May and will now advance to the public hearing stage.

Lantzville Projects Ltd. is applying for a 280-unit development in the area, with 156 units on the Clark Drive property and 123 on properties bounded by Ware, Ronald and Philip roads.

Darwin Mahlum, representative for Lantzville Projects, noted that every unit would have a front and back door, with no stacked units – the development would be a mix of single-unit housing, houses with secondary suites, duplexes, row houses and townhouses.

Lantzville’s official community plan places Clark/Medd in the upper Lantzville special planning area with an anticipated number of new housing units in the range of 130-195, according to staff.

“One of the major issues with the OCP and the number of units identified in the special planning areas is that those numbers were not based on any good planning principles or site design process,” said Kyle Young, the municipality’s director of planning, at a May 11 meeting. “That’s typically the next stage, is the site design and re-zoning process.”

In staff’s view, Young said, the Clark/Medd amendment application before council is financially, ecologically and socially sustainable.

“It meets some of the fundamental goals of the OCP around providing a range and mix of housing types that we simply do not have in Lantzville right now,” he said. “We do not have small lot development. We do not have multi-unit development. In our view the proposal is 100 per cent consistent with the goals and objectives of the OCP and is consistent with good planning principles and our sustainability objectives.”

The developer is offering a range of community amenity contributions such as land transfers including Blood’s Creek corridor and land on Ware Road where a reservoir is situated, parks and trails, and almost $4.5 million in development cost charges.

A staff report notes that the development at full build-out would accommodate approximately 665 residents, which represents 17.5 per cent of Lantzville’s current population.

Neighbours have already rallied considerable opposition to the Clark/Medd development, with a petition signed by a majority of residents on Philip Road and the Alger Road and Black Jack Drive neighbourhood. The petition says re-zoning there “will drastically increase the density of dwellings permitted such that it will irreversibly alter the existing rural community character of the surrounding neighbourhoods,” and the petition also outlines traffic concerns.

Mayor Mark Swain said he’s excited to see an application before council and suggested the proposal has potential to affect the district’s future. He said he thinks councillors would agree that they want an application there to be successful, but he added he thinks increased density “is probably going to go over like a bit of a lead balloon in that neighbourhood.”

Coun. Ian Savage also expressed the view that the density in the proposal is too high.

“I would rather see this proposal negotiated to be the most acceptable possible to maximize acceptance before it’s put to the public,” he said. “We’ve already heard from 100 residents in the local area around this development in opposition, so let’s try to address that.”

Mahlum said the special area plan is meant to inform the new official community plan, and suggested that a development isn’t all about density.

“A development is about form and character and what does it do for your community,” Mahlum said. “[Density] never dawns on you. You drive by a development and you say, ‘I like it’ or ‘it doesn’t fit within the community.’ Make no mistake – we do not intend to do anything that doesn’t fit within the community.”

Coun. Will Geselbracht said he’s interested to hear from neighbours who would most closely be affected, but also from other Lantzville residents “because we are a whole community.”

Coun. Karen Proctor said “the one thing that I know for sure, that I hear from people all the time, is they want something to happen.”

Council passed first and second readings of the amendment application by a 4-1 vote May 25, with Savage opposed. A public hearing will now take place, but it has not yet been scheduled.

READ ALSO: New official community plan will make Lantzville a ‘green oasis’

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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