District of Lantzville council recently approved a 90-parcel subdivision along Ware Road, with the understanding that Lantzville Projects Ltd. will come forward with a mixed-use re-zoning application for hundreds of units. (Williamson and Associates Professional Surveyors/District of Lantzville images)

Developer’s back-up plan approved in Lantzville’s village core

Lantzville Projects says half-acre lots would be ‘a disaster’ for Ware Road property

A developer has received approval for 90 half-acre lots in Lantzville’s village core, but says that’s not the right kind of development for that neighbourhood, and that’s not what it intends to build.

At a meeting May 25, District of Lantzville council voted to issue a development permit to Lantzville Projects Ltd. that would allow 22.6 hectares to be subdivided along Ware Road between the Island Highway and Lantzville Road.

Plans for mixed-use “village scale” development are still in the works there, but because Lantzville recently updated its official community plan, the developer has only until March 2021 to assert its grandfathered property rights.

“This is just one step that they have to take to proceed with the subdivision in a phased manner in the downtown area…” said Kyle Young, director of planning. “They’ve started with the Clark and Medd application. Depending on the outcome of that application, they have indicated to staff that they are willing to consider submitting an application for the downtown properties as well.”

Ninety half-acre (0.2-hectare) parcels is a very different vision that what Lantzville Projects showed community members at a meeting last spring. At that meeting, Barefoot Planning and Design told members of the public about concepts for 500-700 units, including multi-family housing, seniors’ housing and mixed-use buildings. Darwin Mahlum, representative for Lantzville Projects, told the News Bulletin this month that the developer “fully intends” to bring forward a re-zoning application for the lower Ware Road parcels in the coming weeks that he guessed might come in at 700-800 units.

“You throw these numbers around, but at the end of the day you build what works,” Mahlum said. “It’s not downtown Vancouver. We’re small enough to know that we have to attract people there and the product has to be right.”

Coun. Will Geselbracht said at the May 25 meeting that the application for 90 half-acre lots created some “confusion in the community” as councillors and members of the public had seen the village concepts and had been anticipating an application along those lines. But council followed staff’s recommendation and voted 4-1 to approve the developer’s backup plan for Ware Road.

“We have great views and people who are looking for a half-acre view lot from the Lower Mainland will pay us well for it. But saying that, it’s a disaster for Lantzville,” Mahlum said. “How well would a village do there? You have 100,000 customers next door in Nanaimo. It’s just a golden opportunity.”

READ ALSO: 280-unit development in Lantzville will proceed to public hearing

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


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