Developer pitches four strata options

John Gleeson/Staff Writer / Staff writer
February 22, 2013 01:00 AM

Developer Kabel Atwall (with arms crossed) speaks to the public during last Saturday's open house in Halfmoon Bay.

Plans for a major residential development in Halfmoon Bay were given a public airing last weekend during a pre-application open house by 3L Developments Inc.

The Nanaimo-based developer provided four options for the property, situated on 168 acres (67 hectares) above the intersection of Highway 101 and the north end of Redrooffs Road.

The option originally put forward to the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) would see 180 quarter-acre (.1-hectare) lots with about 55 per cent of the property dedicated for park.

"There are a lot of people who utilize the property for hiking and biking and whatnot, and we want to sort of maintain that," 3L spokesman Kabel Atwall said during the Feb. 16 open house at Cooper's Green Hall. "Smaller lots mean more open space."

The first option would also include a community centre as a public amenity and a 1.25-hectare retail area.

In the three lower-density options, presented at the request of the Halfmoon Bay advisory planning commission (APC), the park dedication shrinks to below 10 per cent and the community centre is removed from the plan.

Those options include 115 one-acre (.4-hectare) lots, 122 two-acre (.8-hectare) lots and 98 two-and-a-half-acre (one-hectare) lots.

"Because we'll have a community sewer system installed, we need a minimum number of units that work," Atwall said.

Currently zoned for private forestry use, the property was "just a dog's breakfast for all the logging debris and past activity" when 3L bought it in 2007, cleaned it up, built a road and created five lakes within the parcel, he said.

Featuring spectacular views from every lot, the naturally terraced strata development could make Halfmoon Bay a more homogenous community, he added.

"If we bring these lots in at a reasonable price - say $150,000 a lot - then we can start bringing younger people to the area. From a demographic perspective, it's skewed one way, and it makes more of a complete community if you've got younger people as well. It could also make it affordable for some seniors to remain in the area, rather than living on larger lots. Affordability is key to the issue."

Build-out would take 10 to 15 years, "and that's being optimistic," he said.

APC members monitoring the turnout said more than 100 people had shown up during the first half of the four-hour open house. Responses from the community were "mixed," said APC co-chair Elise Rudland.

"Mostly people are asking for the lower density," Rudland said.

In its comments to the board last month, APC raised concerns about the proposed density of the subdivision, the uniformity of lot size and design, and the impact of providing water to supply such a large number of new parcels.

Atwall said he was hoping the final application would go before the SCRD board next month for first reading.

The company has done similar projects on Vancouver Island in Sooke, Duncan and Courtenay, where a 700-lot development is going ahead on 400 acres (160 hectares) with about 50 per cent set aside for green space, he said.

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