A developer has agreed to scale back a controversial project in Lantzville.
The 280-unit Clark-Medd development went to public hearing Sept. 28, and at council’s next meeting Oct. 5, a 3-2 decision was made to ask the developer to compromise at 250 units.
A letter from Peter Struk of Lantzville Projects Ltd. on Oct. 6 advised mayor and council that the developer consents to the reduction in density and the official community plan bylaw amendment will now go to third reading on Monday, Oct. 19.
The public hearing was delayed due to noise levels outside Lantzville District Hall, where residents protested the potential development. Lantzville’s OCP set aside a special planning area for Clark-Medd with an anticipated number of new housing units in the range of 130-195.
James Dale, a Clark Drive resident, said at the public hearing that those opposing the development think the project’s negatives outweigh its benefits and said people are frustrated because they don’t feel like they were heard during the process. Paul Tedeschini, Dickinson Road resident, said the majority of people in Lantzville are against the development.
“We’re the people who care enough to actually make an effort and what we don’t accept is the rewriting of the OCP,” he said.
John Jones, an Ellesmere Drive resident, said those who prefer faster development and those who prefer a more measured approach have helped to guide the creation of the OCP.
“If the guidelines in the OCP can be set aside as soon as a developer requests it, it sends a clear message to all future developers that nothing in the OCP needs to be taken seriously,” he said.
Coun. Karen Proctor made the motion to ask the developer to limit the number of units to 250. She acknowledged the opposition from those who petitioned against the project.
“There was a lot of passion that went into that petition, a lot of people that really care about their neighbourhood,” she said. “Everyone sitting at this table cares deeply about the neighbourhood too or we wouldn’t be on council.”
District staff had recommended the project at the requested 280 units, and Proctor said she has “utmost trust in the staff reports” and to go against a staff recommendation, she would have needed to have been swayed by “qualified, verifiable figures.”
Councillors Will Geselbracht and Jamie Wilson voted in favour of Proctor’s motion.
Geselbracht said the district followed the OCP process to a ‘T’ and said “change brings anxiety, simple as that – this is a change; people are anxious.”
Wilson said considering the district’s finances and the benefits promised by the developer, he felt the project would contribute to Lantzville.
“The longer we push off development, the more dense the next development [will be] that’s going to come our way,” he said.
Mayor Mark Swain and Coun. Ian Savage voted in opposition. Swain had previously motioned to ask that the development be limited to 176 units, but had been outvoted.
“What we’re really doing here is setting a precedent for the type of density that could be allowed in that area and that’s a lot more homes,” he said.
Savage felt the project strayed from the OCP and suggested council listen to the residents who spoke against the development plans.
“People of Lantzville are smart, they pay the taxes, we represent them. They have every right to say what they say and what they feel,” he said. “What is the point of a public hearing if you’re not going to listen to residents?”