A “contentious” 250-unit development in Lantzville received approval and now the municipality will send a letter to residents explaining the project’s merits.
District of Lantzville council, at a meeting Monday, voted 3-2 to approve an official community plan amendment bylaw and a zoning bylaw to allow for the Clark-Medd residential project south of the Island Highway to move ahead.
Coun. Will Geselbracht made a motion to send a letter to residents explaining how the Clark-Medd development “meets all criteria set out in the district’s official community plan” and aligns with council’s strategic priorities including diversity of housing, water connections and infrastructure, and provides other benefits.
He said there is a notion among residents that councillors hadn’t been heeding the OCP and said the letter “would go a long way to alleviating some of the misunderstanding in the community.”
Coun. Jamie Wilson referenced a Lantzville Facebook page and said it’s “tough to get fair communication within the community right now.”
Coun. Karen Proctor also voted in favour of sending the letter, saying, “I think it’s really important for us to put people’s mind at ease and realize that we are doing our jobs properly” and following process.
Coun. Ian Savage and Mayor Mark Swain opposed sending the letter. Savage said it would be “completely incorrect” to state in a letter that the development is totally compliant with the OCP, noting that “there’s innumerable ways that it’s not compliant.”
Swain said the letter will set an unusual precedent following a “contentious application” that has gotten residents stirred up.
“Where this could end up is … having members of the public then disagreeing with the contents of that letter and it just goes back and forth like a ping-pong ball,” Swain said.
Council voted 3-2 for staff to draft a letter and bring it back to the next council meeting.