A mixed-use redevelopment project proposed for Lantzville has pulse once again.
Lantzville councillors voted 4-3 in favour on Monday of re-voting on the third reading of a proposed zoning amendment bylaw for property at 7143 Caillet Rd., home to CruisePlus, a local travel company seeking to redevelop its office into a mixed-use building.
Councillors had voted 3-3 during third reading of the zoning amendment bylaw back in July. As a result of a tie vote, due to Mayor Colin Haime’s absence, the development project could no longer proceed under its current proposal.
The reconsideration motion brought forward by Coun. Mark Swain, who had originally voted against the development. He told councillors that he didn’t think the applicants got a fair vote.
“I feel that the applicants for the rezoning application didn’t get a decisive response from this council,” he said. “Third reading simply failed because of a tie vote, not because of a majority vote.”
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There were questions about the timing of Swain’s motion from councillors, including Coun. Denise Haime, who said it was a “smoke and mirrors” tactic and should have been on the agenda prior to the meeting.
“There are a number of people that probably would have liked to have been here had this been on the agenda and I think we have taken that right away from them, so I have concerns with that,” she said.
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Swain said the motion was simply to reconsider third reading and to give the applicants the opportunity to have a fair vote with all of council present.
“I was on, I guess you could call it, the winning side, in not having that go forward, however they are entitled to a fair process. They are entitled to a majority vote and not simply lose on a tie vote. It’s not a good way to set the tone on how we are going to conduct our business with developers,” he said.
During discussion, councillors made vague references to receiving new information regarding the development. Coun. Will Geselbracht referenced an open letter written by former Lantzville mayor Jack de Jong and posted online.
“Since this vote was taken, ex-mayor [Jack] de Jong, in a public letter to council, stated his opinion that councillor Haime and Mayor Haime are in conflict on this vote,” Geselbracht said.
De Jong’s open letter questions whether they’re in conflict with the development because they own a business within the village core.
Colin Haime said de Jong is “incorrect” about whether there is a conflict, adding that it’s up to members of council to determine whether they are in conflict or not.
“Also, it’s not up to us to defend whether or not we should participate. It is up to individuals to bring their concerns forward,” Haime said.
He said their business property is far enough away that he and his wife are not in conflict, adding that the bylaw amendment does not change anything for them.
“This bylaw does not change the zoning of our property, does not change the use of our property. So, Mr. former Mayor de Jong should consider that aspect and frankly I will not take conflict advice from an individual that votes on a road that goes through his own property,” he said.
Third reading of the proposed zoning amendment bylaw for the Caillet Road property will take place on Oct. 2.
Councillors Haime, Coulson and Mayor Haime voted against reconsideration.