A plan for shops and hundreds of homes in Lantzville’s village core is coming back to the table for another public hearing.
District of Lantzville council, at a meeting June 15, voted 3-2 to advance an official community plan amendment bylaw featuring a revised special area plan for Lantzville Village South to a public hearing July 13.
Last month, council voted to refer the OCP amendment application back to staff to try to work with the developer to try to “improve” the application. Lantzville Projects Ltd. responded by presenting an alternate proposal that decreases the number of housing units from 732 to 632, assures 50 seniors’ supportive housing units and increases the area of park, green space and transfer lands.
At last week’s meeting, Coun. Ian Savage put forward numerous amendment motions asking for additional changes, most notably to ask for a further reduction in density to bring the number of units to 532. He said it would be “pointless” to hold another public hearing on the revised special area plan.
“I haven’t seen enough change to warrant approving it, and certainly not enough change to feel it covers what residents said, such a majority of them, at the public hearing,” Savage said.
He said the density reduction, assurance of seniors’ units and increase in public land are three examples of improvements that have come via negotiations.
“It seems to me the negotiations have begun for the first time just recently and it’s council that’s doing it, so I don’t want to rush, I want to get more negotiations done,” Savage said. “I don’t know why anyone’s reluctant to negotiate.”
Mayor Mark Swain said he felt more public consultation should be scheduled before council sends the special area plan to another public hearing. He said the creation of Lantzville’s OCP, for example, came after after a range of engagement opportunities and suggested “a major change to our OCP” should similarly bring the public into the fold.
“One thing we’ve heard all the way along is clarifying misinformation,” Swain said. “Well, this is Lantzville Projects’ opportune time to clear up any miscommunication regarding this project and … if it is such a wonderful thing for the District of Lantzville and for all the people that live here now and into the future, it should be an easy sell.”
Savage’s other amendment motions included specifying floor areas of units to try to ensure a diversity of housing types, as well as a request for a certain number of accessible units.
Coun. Karen Proctor said the motion on floor areas was “too prescriptive” and director of planning and community services Frank Limshue advised along the same lines.
“Council’s got to keep in mind that the application that’s being put forward is a package and it’s not just a package on the proposed land use, but the package also includes the amenities that the applicant is putting on the table,” he said. “They ran their numbers and they’ve submitted their package, and so I think trying to amend the bylaw on the fly with these kinds of numbers, there’s a risk that perhaps the financial model or the formula for the applicant may not work.”
Savage’s amendments were voted down by council members Proctor, Will Geselbracht and Jamie Wilson. Wilson said he considers the Lantzville Village South plan a “medium-density” development and said he’s also keeping in mind long-term taxation implications for the district.
“We need to have revenue-positive developments that actually allow the rest of Lantzville to live their semi-rural lifestyle,” he said.
Council voted 3-2 to advance the OCP amendment application to a public hearing with Savage and Swain opposed. The hearing will happen July 13 at 6 p.m.