New official community plan will make Lantzville a ‘green oasis’

District of Lantzville has a new OCP for the first time since 2005

Lantzville council has done what the previous council couldn’t do: adopt an official community plan.

Nearly four years after the process first began, Lantzville councillors voted unanimously in favour of adopting a new official community plan during a council meeting on June 24.

Lantzville’s new official community plan replaces a version that was adopted in 2005, two years after the district officially became a municipality.

An OCP is an document which sets design guidelines, policies and expectations on development throughout the community.

RELATED: Lantzville releases draft of its official community plan

RELATED: ‘An absolute plum:’ Lantzville’s OCP heading to public hearing

During Monday’s meeting, which took place at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 257, Coun. Ian Savage said the OCP will “perpetuate Lantzville into a green oasis” and that the district will have “large swaths” of green space in 50 to 100 years as a result of council’s decision to adopt the new plan.

“This OPC offers higher density now in return for generous amounts of green space. In the long run this OCP produces less overall development and more green space,” he said.

Savage said the OCP promotes high standards of green technology, innovative neighbourhood layouts and unique architecture, which he believes will make Lantzville a leader. He said the OCP isn’t “perfect for any one person” but a “healthy, balanced approach” for everyone.

“We’re handing future generations a real plum,” he said.

Coun. Will Geselbracht told councillors he liked the OCP and believed it was a good fit for the community. The two-term councillor then pulled out a plum and said he brought it because Savage had made plum-related comments at a previous council meeting.

“In anticipating of [the OCP] passing tonight, I brought Coun. Savage’s plum and when I go home tonight … I can eat it knowing that things are good in Lantzville and it is a real plum,” Geselbracht said.

A major component of Lantzville’s new OCP is the designation of six neighbourhoods within the district – village primary commercial core, village south, village west, upper Lantzville-Ware Road, upper Lantzville-Superior Road and Lantzville east – as special plan areas. That designation requires a more “detailed planning and engagement” process and is an attempt within the district to avoid “cookie-cutter”-type developments.

The plan also includes language around high environmental standards for all new buildings and subdivisions by encouraging the use of renewable energy sources and low-waste building materials.

In 2016, the previous Lantzville council agreed to have staff and a private consulting firm begin developing a new official community plan. Following months of consultation, open houses and community-wide surveys and OCP review select committee meetings, concerns were raised by some members of the previous council about the entire planning process. That council also agreed to ban district staff from making any changes to the OCP without receiving council’s approval.

Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain said the OCP addresses the need for some development with the desire to preserve the semi-rural feel of Lantzville. He also said being able to vote on adoption of the OCP has been a “long time coming” for councillors and called it a significant moment for the current council.

“We will be able to move forward with other exciting projects in Lantzville as we basically tick this one off our to-do list. It has been a big accomplishment for this council,” Swain said. “We have come together and we have reconciled our differences on this and we are moving forward. I’m really excited.”

RELATED: Lantzville staff forbidden from making changes to draft of official community plan

RELATED: Lantzville community planning process questioned by councillors

RELATED: Lantzville considers review of official community plan







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
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