Development plans for a residential subdivision at 380 Cottle Pl. (Hillel Architecture/Modev Developments image)

Nanaimo councillors approve development permit for Cottle Place subdivision

Height variances will be allowed

A proposed residential development near Nottingham Park is one step closer to reality.

Nanaimo city councillors approved a development permit requesting multiple height variances for a 16,900-square metre residential development at 380 Cottle Pl. at a meeting Monday night.

Submitted by Hillel Architecture Inc., on behalf on Modev Developments, the proposal calls for the construction of a multi-family residential development consisting of eight detached units and 16 townhouse units.

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During Monday’s council meeting, Peter Hardcastle, architect, said the site’s topography is the reason why the developer was asking for a variance, explaining that the current bylaw for height is based on “reasonable” flat landscapes but that the Cottle Place site is far from flat.

“It is very dramatic,” he said, adding that the variance request isn’t for how tall the buildings need to be but about the foundation and how low it can go.

Part of the proposal includes two townhouses slated to be constructed directly beside another home on Cottle Place. Hardcastle said the only complaint the developer heard about their proposal is from that homeowner, and said the proposed houses will not be any taller than that existing house.

Steven Tranfield, owner of the development, said he’s been trying to find the right piece of property to develop for years, adding that nobody wanted the Cottle Place property. He said his project fits with the area and implored councillors to approve the variance, adding that the project will be a benefit to the community.

“I believe it will help build Nanaimo,” he said.

Martin Neuhoff, Cottle Place resident, told councillors said while he’s actually in support of the project overall, his concern is with the two townhouse units beside his house. He said those two units will impact his view, despite what the developers claims.

“My house sits on an angle and this will obstruct my view from my lounge and dining room and obviously from my deck facing the forest,” he said.

Neuhoff said he purchased the home believing his view wouldn’t be obstructed. He said he was unaware until last week that a variance had been requested by the developers.

“This is big concern going into this development,” Neuhoff said. “Will our rights be protected or will the developer proceed to bend the rules as he suggested?”

In response to questions from Coun. Bill Bestwick, Dale Lindsay, the city’s director of community development, explained that the consultation process varies depending on the type of application. He said residents are not notified about development permits they same way they are notified about rezoning applications.

“We do not do signage, we do not do notification to the immediate neighbours, there is no requirements under bylaw for development permits to have that same requirement,” Lindsay said, adding that development permit applications are referred to the neighbourhood association and posted online.

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong said she had concerns about heights on some of the units.

In the end councillors approved the variance 7-2 with Coun. Ian Thorpe and Armstrong opposed.

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