Lantzville District Hall shown above.

Lantzville District Hall shown above.

Foothills development approval letter made public

NANAIMO – Foothills development calls for the construction of 103 units.

A PRELIMINARY layout approval letter to Lone Tree Properties and a site plan for the recently revised Foothills development application are now accessible on the District of Lantzville’s website.

The decision to release information about the Foothills development to the public was made by Lantzville district staff during a council meeting on Monday night, when councillors began discussing a motion that would have formally released the information to the public anyway.

Frank Limshue, the district’s community planner, told councillors that the preliminarily layout approval letter indicates what Lone Tree Properties would need to proceed with its proposed Foothills development.

“That basically means [Lone Tree] has to build the roads, deal with the water, the sewer, the drainage and everything else that is laid out in the letter. The letter is basically a checklist for the developer. In simple terms it lays out all the conditions they have to meet,” he said.

Lone Tree Properties has proposed to construct 103 units on the upper Lantzville site, which would be serviced with water coming from a well located on the development site.

According to the letter, one of the conditions is that Lone Tree Properties must enter into a water well transfer agreement with Lantzville, which would protect the district from any well capacity loss in the future. The letter also indicates that Lone Tree must provide 295 hectares of parkland to the district.

Fred Manson, the district’s interim chief administrative officer, told councillors that he would release information about the Foothills development, but made it clear that public or personal opinion cannot interfere with staff.

“One of the things … the public has to be aware of is the prohibition against influencing the officer of the municipality and the conduct of their business,” Manson said. “We will be continuing to administer this application in accordance to the statues and the bylaws that the city has right now.”

Coun. Denise Haime said other municipalities release development application information on their websites all the time and that Lantzville should take a similar approach.

“We cannot keep hiding or putting things behind closed doors so the public is not aware of what is going on until we have whatever we want the done deal to be,” she said. “I think this is the right thing to do. It’s full disclosure. It’s accountability and I think the residents do have the right to know what has been approved.”

Speaking to the News Bulletin after the meeting, Manson said had councillors not discussed releasing the preliminarily layout approval, it would not have been posted on the district’s website, but would have been available to the public by request.

Manson said he is looking at implementing a system where residents will be able to log onto the district’s website and see what development applications have been submitted.

He said that responsibility would fall to Lantzville’s only community planner, who is only employed part-time.

Manson said the decision could depend on whether councillors decide to make the district’s only community planner position a full-time gig.

To view the letter and site plan, please visit www.lantzville.ca.