An application to create a four-lot subdivision on Acorn Road in West Sechelt, and also a new rural residential zone for the property, to be called RR-3, faced criticism at a Feb. 5 public hearing over process, the road standard to be required, and a perception of favouritism.
The RR-3 zoning, to be applied to the property at 6270 Acorn that currently consists of a single lot zoned Multifamily/Mixed Residential, would allow it to be broken up with a minimum 4,000-sq.-metre (0.99-acre) parcel size and allow a single-family home with a secondary suite on each lot.
A cottage, defined in Sechelt’s bylaws as a home of less than 55 sq. metres (592 sq. feet), could also be added to each lot with the payment of a $2,500 amenity contribution.
The original requirement for a paved road, or to contribute to a reserve for future paving, was removed and the planning department is proposing the subdivision go ahead with a rural gravel road standard, and a covenant for service and maintenance levels that come with a gravel road.
West Sechetl resident Walter Tripp told councillors at the hearing that there should have been a broader consultation about whether other properties in the area should also have been included in the new RR-3 zone, adding that the spot-zoning would come off looking as favouritism to Bounty Development Corp., the property’s owners.
“Everybody who’s got an RR-1 [property] should be eligible to take advantage of that, otherwise it just looks like nothing but a gift,” he said.
Tripp told the hearing that if the full number of units allowed were built, it would put too much stress on a gravel road, prompting a question from Coun. Matt McLean about whether he would have been in support of the rezoning if it called for a paved road.
Tripp responded that he’d have to think about that.
Fellow West Sechelt resident Jeri Patterson said she agreed with Tripp’s comments about the road standard.
“Adding all of that traffic onto a very narrow dirt road and then onto Wakefield Road is certainly a concern and if the traffic then goes on and up to Norwest Bay Road then we’ve got Sechelt Elementary School and the problems with traffic there,” she said. “We already have problems with roads that are very substandard and inadequate to service what is there.”
Patterson also said she felt the bylaw should go back to the drawing board because the sentence explaining what the bylaw is intended to do was incomplete and because of inaccuracies with roads shown on the associated maps.
Bronson Moore spoke on behalf of Bounty Development and said it was important to clarify what he saw as misconceptions about the existing zoning and OCP designations for the lot.
“Our property is in a secondary growth area. The urban containment boundary runs along the north edge of our property. It is not a rural area as far as the OCP dictates,” Moore said. “The current land use designation allows for a higher density than we’re trying to get.”
A total of five speakers addressed the hearing, which lasted over an hour as some speakers returned to the podium several times. All but Moore said they had concerns with the rezoning being allowed to go forward as written.