Alternative proposed for Potlatch calculation

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, November 22 2016

The Gabriola Local Trust Committee did not give the Potlatch application bylaws a second reading at the LTC meeting held November 10.

Part of the reasoning behind that decision is the LTC members’ desire to wait on the hydrology report being put together.

The other reason is to ask staff to look at a proposal put forward by Trustee Melanie Mamoser at the Nov. 10 meeting - to amend Official Community Plan Bylaw 290 to state that “the minimum average lot area is 2.7ha (6.7 acres), and for calculation purposes the minimum average lot area includes roads and parkland within this zone.”

Outlining her reasons for the proposal, Mamoser said one of the big differences with the Potlatch application is that it is proposing what could be considered as a conservation subdivision - which aims to cluster lots to preserve ecological values from development without reducing density.

Citing a report from the Islands Trust in relation to North Pender Island, Mamoser said, “It requires a minimum and an average lot size where the overall density of a subdivision is determined by the average lot size. This allows for a larger range of lot sizes and clustering.”

The Potlatch application is for 25 private lots and, as Mamoser said, the applicant clearly wants to maintain that number. Planning staff have said that using the approach to density transfer currently in the Official Community Plan (OCP) and Land Use Bylaw (LUB) would affect the ability to maintain those 25 lots.

Mamoser said, “Staff have proposed an approach that they see as more transparent and simple. I trust staff assurances that the covenant is strong and this approach provides enough safeguards to the community. However, I’m concerned about a growing distrust of the process being followed in this application because it is not following the OCP/LUB.”

Based on that, Mamoser proposed that by making the amendment to Bylaw 290, it would be following the OCP/LUB, while bringing more certainty to the applicant.

She also suggested the LUB be amended “to provide clarity so that in the future we can encourage a conservation approach to subdivision with more parkland dedicated than required.”

Trustee O’Sullivan said she would like feedback from the planner on the proposal.

Mamoser said that she herself is frustrated, but feels the LTC can follow the OCP and LUB in order to move forward.

LTC Chair Laura Busheikin said she has also heard plenty of feedback and concerns about being clear on how the LTC is following the OCP and LUB.

“Not that I think the way we’re doing it is wrong, this may be better. It is important.

“The Coastal Salish have a saying about getting to a place in a good way.”

Mamoser said, “We’ve been clear that what is on the table is legal. I don’t think what’s on the table is clear.”

Ann Kjerulf, Regional Planning Manager, said staff would want to look at the options and potentially alter/amend the bylaws.

The next LTC meeting will be in January of 2017.