The future of lower Lantzville was on display last weekend.
At a special committee of the whole meeting at Costin Hall last Saturday, representatives for Lantzville Projects presented the company’s vision for the Ware Road area, located near the district’s town hall.
Evan Peterson, principal of Barefoot Planning, the company hired by Lantzville Projects to conduct design work, showed off conceptual renderings.
“This isn’t supposed to be reality,” he said. “This is supposed to be a concept plan where we get the feel for it.”
Peterson said idea is to create a space that supports Lantzville’s downtown area, which is known as the village core.
“The proposed context is to create diverse housing choices, with diversity and intensity of choice, create a core population to support the village and the amenities there, create and maintain high-quality green spaces over time,” he said.
Peterson stressed that nothing is concrete, but that Lantzville Projects would like more density on the property, resulting in a more compact village core. He said cluster housing, townhouses as well as multi-family and mixed-use buildings are ideal and that there would be “heavy emphasis” on sidewalks, trails and green spaces as well.
“By creating a compact village what we essentially do is avoid sprawl or more sprawl and take pressure off the existing neighbourhoods, we also take pressure of agricultural lands and resource lands and [this] is consistent with the regional growth strategy,” Peterson said.
Near the end of the meeting, Peterson, in response to a question from a member of the audience, said there could be as many as 500 to 700 units of housing on the land.
“I hesitate a little bit to name numbers because of the potential variability but I would say somewhere in the neighbourhood of 500 to 700, potentially 100 lower than that,” he said. “It depends on the multi-family areas and seniors units and how you count those, so it is hard to say at this point.”
Other residents spoke about the project during the public participation period of the meeting, generally supportive with the concepts. Some urged councillors to ensure any development on the property include considerations for green space and community space as well as diverse housing options.
Longtime resident Brenda Savage said it’s important that the area includes community spaces that are diverse and vibrant, otherwise Lantzville will end up looking like north Nanaimo.
“It’s really, really important that we look at an age range of residences that fit the community,” she said. “The village is a vibrant village when it covers people from birth to when we leave.”
Coun. Ian Savage was the only member of council to comment on the proposal, telling councillors he was very pleased to see “pocket neighbourhoods” were included in the plans.
Darwin Mahlum, representative for Lantzville Projects, said he felt the presentation went well, adding that based on comments from residents at the meeting, that the community is welcoming of more density and variety of housing.
“It showed the overwhelming desire of what the community wants,” he said, adding that people want change and not half-acre lots.
Mahlum said Lantzville Projects are ready to apply to rezone the property.
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