Lantzville district hall. (News Bulletin file)

‘An absolute plum:’ Lantzville’s OCP heading to public hearing

Lantzville councillors passed first and second readings of official community plan last week

Years after the process first began, the District of Lantzville is a lot closer to having a new official community plan.

Lantzville councillors unanimously passed first and second reading of the district’s official community plan during a council meeting on May 27.

Mayor Mark Swain said the community has been waiting a long time for the OCP to reach this point in the process. He said he felt the OCP is a good balance.

“This is something we should all be proud of,” he said.

It has taken Lantzville nearly four years to reach this point. In 2016, the previous council initiated the development of a new official community plan for the district to replace the existing OCP, which was adopted in 2005, two years after Lantzville became a municipality.

Councillors appeared to be close to concluding the OCP process last year after council agreed to send a draft version to various provincial agencies in March 2018. But since February, numerous revisions have been made to the plan by the current council. Among the changes include creating larger special plan areas and removing density bonusing linked to creation of parkland.

Coun. Will Geselbracht said Lantzville is likely one step closer to having a coffee shop in the village core as a result of council’s decision and is pleased the current council was able to come to an agreement on the OCP and move it forward to the public.

“This was an item that our last council unfortunately got hung up on and it was a big element in the election of 2018 and with good will and leadership from the mayor, we’re close to passing the OCP,” he said.

The official community plan is a comprehensive document that lays out design guidelines and policies on development throughout the community.

A major component of Lantzville’s new OCP is the designation of six neighbourhoods within the district – village primary commercial core, village south, village west, upper Lantzville-Ware Road, upper Lantzville-Superior Road and Lantzville east – as special plan areas. That designation requires a more “detailed planning and engagement” process and is an attempt within the district to avoid “cookie-cutter” type developments.

The plan also includes language around high environmental standards for all new buildings and subdivisions by encouraging the use of renewable energy sources and low-waste building materials.

Coun. Ian Savage called Lantzville’s new OCP a forward-thinking document that is “one of the most advanced community plans” in the entire province. He said the plan’s policies mean Lantzville will be “an absolute plum” for the next generation as it focuses on protecting the environment through the preservation of green space and the incorporation of high design standards.

“It fully embraces the future and promotes advanced green technology and innovations in building,” he said. “It invites innovative, unique architecture so we’re not going to look like everywhere else.”

Speaking to the News Bulletin, Coun. Jamie Wilson, who was a member of the OCP committee, said he’s also very pleased that councillors are all on the same page. He said while it remains to be seen, he believes the OCP will fulfill the wishes of the majority of residents, who support some density in the village core and increased housing types throughout the district.

“I’m happy with the OCP,” he said. “I think it gives people housing options. My parents, for example, live on two acres in Lantzville and that is probably going to too much for them in five years. So, they get to stay close to their grandkids and live in a place that they have called home for 30-plus years and I think that is awesome.”

Residents will have an opportunity to examine and comment on the official community plan during a public hearing on June 24. 
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