Lantzville residents see plans for Foothills

NANAIMO – Development company wants to re-open discussions on memorandum of understanding with district council.

Storm Mountain Development Corp. could double back on long-term plans and a memorandum of understanding for the Lantzville Foothills Estates, according to Mark Holland, vice-president of development.

Storm Mountain Development showcased plans for the 744-hectare Foothills Estates during an open house and town hall meeting Tuesday.

More than 170 people turned out to view plans for the mega housing project, share concerns and provide feedback. For some residents, it was the first time they were able to look at diagrams, maps and information that flesh out the project.

Storm Mountain only took over the property last year, announcing it was ready to dust off the plans for the Foothills Estates. It also signed a memorandum of understanding with the former District of Lantzville council.

On Tuesday, the company shared that it’s found enough water to support the first development phase of 112 units and hopes to get started as soon as possible. It will also search for additional water this year, refresh roads for emergency vehicles and set up a community task force to help manage recreational use of the Foothills.

According to Holland, although the company hopes to have a new phased development agreement, it won’t affect the first chapter of the development because it’s “essentially already roughed in.”

But the company does want to take a look at a new development agreement and memorandum of understanding with the community and that will take time, he said.

“If we’re going to change the old plan let’s do this through a proper community planning process with the appropriate studies and let’s come up with a much more updated plan for a new zoning, new [official community plan] amendment … that meets the community’s needs and the developer’s needs better than the currently proposed MOU would,” he said, adding the document was negotiated in camera without public consultation under a different council.

He also says there would be no loss in value to Lantzville to revisit the agreement.

“In the end there will be greater value to Lantzville if we take the time to do current planning with the community on what they need that we can offer,” he said.

Holland said he is confident there’s an “enormous” amount of natural water in the Foothills. If not enough water is found, the company would look at asking Lantzville to revisit its gallon-per-minute standards or to work with Nanaimo and Lantzville on the water agreement.

Vicki Erickson, who lives at the entry to the Foothills, said she liked the diversity of homes and one large park instead of multiple green spaces. She also said she likes that the homes are more affordable.

“By reducing the sizes and bringing in a diversification that means our children have a chance of getting a home there where the other [plan], they didn’t…” Erickson said. “You can’t preserve your community without young people and young people can’t afford $400,000 properties and a million dollar home.”

The company aims to submit development and building permit applications next year.

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