A rendering of development at the Foothills in Lantzville. (Lone Tree Properties Ltd. image)

A rendering of development at the Foothills in Lantzville. (Lone Tree Properties Ltd. image)

Lantzville amending OCP to allow for new vision for Foothills

Development will be condensed along eastern portion of property

The District of Lantzville will amend its OCP to accommodate a new vision for the Foothills neighbourhood.

Immediately following a public hearing July 27, Lantzville council voted in favour of third reading of OCP and zoning bylaw amendments to update the Foothills comprehensive development area plan.

The new plan increases the project density from 730 units to 814 units, but the most noteworthy change is to the footprint of the Foothills. Lone Tree Properties will no longer develop land in the west portion of the property and will concentrate all development along the east portion.

The buildout at the Foothills, a 737-hectare property southwest of the Island Highway, has already begun with the creation of 120 single-family lots. The municipality and Lone Tree entered into a memorandum of understanding in 2014 and the district’s director of planning and community services Frank Limshue said the OCP and zoning amendments are meant “to renew the vision for Foothills as a more sustainable project that aligns more closely with the current official community plan.”

The new special area plan indicates that Foothills’ neighbourhoods will be concentrated around three centres: the Village, the Quarry service centre and the Heikkila Creek neighbourhood centre.

The Village, in the northeast portion of the site, will feature a mix of townhouses, duplexes and single detached homes, centred by services and shops, according to a press release.

“This village at the end of the road welcomes recreational visitors with a mix of gateway commercial and modest tourist accommodation,” notes the special area plan.

The Quarry, in the east portion, is intended to include a more low-traffic commercial district.

The Heikkila Creek neighbourhood in the southeast part of the Foothills “will comfortably accommodate compact housing, a mix of mutually supportive local commercial with open space and amenities and would also be well-suited to community services or recreational uses that require larger buildings (such as a school, fire hall or recreational centre),” the plan noted.

The amended plan means significantly more parkland being dedicated to the district – an additional 125 hectares on top of the 296ha previously dedicated as park.

“We saw opportunities to improve overall land-use designations to be more intentional around where and what development allowed on the land relative to more compact and complete community-building at the Foothills,” said Edward Porter, principal and community planner with Modus Planning, Design and Engagement, at last week’s public hearing.

Councillors generally spoke positively about the plan. Coun. Will Geselbracht called it a “very good project” and credited the developer and investors who kept faith over the years.

“I like the concept, I like the way that it’s been re-engineered, bringing the residential into tighter areas … and I like the park,” he said.

Coun. Jamie Wilson said considering Lantzville’s aging infrastructure, he favours the new, more condensed Foothills plan with less roadway and underground infrastructure to maintain.

Mayor Mark Swain said “there’s a lot of exciting things” in the plan and he envisions the Foothills being “a recreational mecca” for hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing. He recalled ideas put forward at a community meeting about a pub and a bike shop, for example, in the Foothills’ commercial area.

“I’m quite excited to see a village. I don’t see it as being a competing village with the downtown village core at all, I just see it as being something very special and unique to that area,” Swain said.

Geselbracht had some concerns about the sheer amount of parkland – which he pointed out is greater than the area of Vancouver’s Stanley Park – and the resources that will be required to maintain the park, develop trails, create accessibility, ensure fire protection, and cover insurance liabilities.

“These are big questions and they’re going to require time, staff time and money, lots of money,” he said. “I can advise that if you’re hoping for the RDN to jump on this and throw a ton of money at it, it’s not in their plans at this point.”

Coun. Ian Savage remarked that “there’s lots of space in the Foothills” and speculated that in the future, if more than 814 homes are desired, the district and the developer may be able to work together on mutually beneficial arrangements.

“Not only is the plan good, but what’s going to happen in reality and how it evolves over the years is going to be even better,” he said.

Foothills CEO Allard Ockeloen told council that work on single-family lots will continue in 2023 and the start of construction of multi-family homes is anticipated in 2024.

READ ALSO: Lantzville Foothills housing development selling quickly


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A rendering of development at the Foothills in Lantzville. (Lone Tree Properties Ltd. image)

A rendering of development at the Foothills in Lantzville. (Lone Tree Properties Ltd. image)

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