Despite strong opposition from the neighbourhood, a public hearing will be held for an application to create 12 off-site parking spaces on a residential lot near Sakinaw Lake to meet conditions for a water-access subdivision about three kilometres north.
Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors heard arguments from both sides at the April 17 planning and development committee meeting, voting afterward to forward the bylaw to the board for second reading and to set a public hearing date.
Egmont and Pender Harbour director Frank Mauro acknowledged the application was “extremely contentious,” but said he was “still not sure that all avenues to find a solution have been exhausted.”
Holding a public hearing “doesn’t mean our minds are made up,” Mauro said, adding that the intent was to “encourage the applicant to discuss with the community any other option that might be available.”
Speaking against the application, Peter Robson of the Bear Bay Neighbours pointed to 23 individual letters of opposition from people who would be directly affected by the proposed parking lot at Mixal Road and Shady Lane, compared to nine letters of support, including five form letters from cottagers outside the area.
“There’s no public support for this application,” Robson said.
He also criticized the proposal for allocating four of the 12 parking spaces to a third party who is proposing to subdivide a different property, also located about three kilometres north of the site.
The parking lot, he said, would result in increased traffic to the “oversubscribed lake access,” and would set a precedent by allowing a parking lot on a residentially zoned property.
Warning that approval “will be opening a door that can’t be closed,” Robson urged the committee to either deny the application outright or put it on hold until the SCRD and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure can review the issue of parking for water-access lots.
Appearing for the applicant, Jim Green said he supported SCRD planning staff’s recommendation to proceed with second reading and a public hearing, pointing to the concessions his client, the Saunders Family Trust, was willing to make.
These include abandoning the bed and breakfast use allowed under the current zoning, reducing the allowable parcel coverage and setting maximum sizes for buildings on the site.
“After the concessions made by the Saunders, the only property that’s going down in value is this one,” Green said.
He denied the application would set a precedent, or that there would be an impact on adjacent properties.
Property owners on Sakinaw Lake are tired of vehicles being parked on the side of the road, he added. “How can the SCRD reject the very thing they and the community asked for in the first place?”
In his report to the committee, senior planner Andrew Allen said if the bylaw is approved, a covenant would be placed on title prohibiting sub-leasing of the parking spaces for other properties and stipulating the parking area can only be used if the driveable access to the proposed subdivision is decommissioned.
If the property is sold in the future, Allen told directors, “whoever bought it would realize that nine per cent of the property is for someone else than them. It is a unique scenario.”
After first setting the public hearing for early May, directors later agreed to Mauro’s request to delay it by three or four more weeks to give the applicant time to have discussions with staff and the community. No date was set at the meeting.
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