Council stalls Wildstone Heights zoning amendment
City of Cranbrook council Monday night unanimously opposed first reading of a zoning amendment for a property along Echo Field Road that if approved would pave the way for approximately 144 mobile home / single family lots and 110 mobile home park lots.
Council was unanimous in support of staff recommendations to not give first reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 4038, 2021 – Wildstone Heights Property Corp – Echo Field Road.
Ron Fraser of Engineering and Development Services, outlined in a report to council the city received application from Brad McInnes on behalf Wildstone Heights Property Corporation for an amendment to the City of Cranbrook Zoning Bylaw to enable consideration of rezoning, subdivision and mobile home park development of the property. The subject property is located along Echo Field Road and is currently designated by the Official Community Plan (OCP) as low density development and zoned Urban Holding Zone Residential: UH-R.
The applicant wishes to rezone and subdivide the parent parcel as follows: the north half of the property to “Mobile Home and Single Family Residential Zone: R-7”, and the south half of the property to “Mobile Home Park Residential Zone: R-8.”
“A preliminary review of the layout indicates the concept would not meet the requirements of the Mobile Home Park Bylaw’s guidelines,” Fraser said.
“The property was originally intended to be part of the original the Wildstone development, but was removed from the neighbourhood plan along with the property across Echo Field Road (former race track) in approximately 2017. The status of the property had been in limbo pending resolution of the owner’s estate in German courts. Recently, the property was purchased by the current owner of Wildstone Golf Course. A portion of the new Wildstone Boulevard has been constructed over the lands and the city is currently awaiting confirmation of the road dedication plan registration as this will be the public road accessing the Wildstone lands,” he outlined.
Fraser informed council the city is flush with land zoned for mobile home parks and needs more mixed land uses.
“In summary of the above, there is approximately 62 acres of land and numerous already developed, or under construction lots, currently available and zoned for mobile homes and mobile home parks in Cranbrook.
“Anecdotal observation of the adjacent Wildstone Golf developments – Legacy Lookout, Boulder Creek and the Whins, indicate a strong take up of single family, townhouse and multi-unit housing types.
“Within Cranbrook, there has been a strong take up of the recent four-plex housing units on Fifth Avenue south, as well as and the remaining townhouses of the Kelowna Crescent development. These housing forms can offer entry-level options to the housing market.
“A key takeaway from the recent Housing Study report presented to council was that developing and maintaining a wide variety of housing forms, sizes, tenures, and affordability should be an objective. A mix of housing forms is likely to provide the most housing opportunities for current and new residents while providing for a wide range of incomes and aspirations,” Fraser reported, adding, “While initially described or marketed as an “affordable” alternative to other housing types, a visual comparison between older mixed housing neighbourhoods against mobile home and manufactured home developments within Cranbrook would suggest the “stick built,” mixed housing neighbourhoods would appear to retain their attractiveness and value better over time than mobile home or manufactured home based developments.
Fraser said the 44.14 acre property is one of only a few “relatively flat and easily serviceable parcels of that size available in Cranbrook making it a good candidate for a more efficient use of the land for potential higher density, and more diverse housing types and forms, which may be more complementary to the Wildstone neighbourhood plan. While not in the plan area, the lands directly abut the plan area and are being marketed as Wildstone.
“Given the existing availability of land and un-developed lots already zoned for R-7 and R-8 uses within Cranbrook, the OCP guidance for the intensification of land uses, and a higher density mix of housing, and the housing needs report suggestion of varied housing types, staff feel the current rezoning application is not supported by the OCP as proposed.
“Consideration for support could be given to a rezoning proposal with a higher intensity and mix of housing types that more closely aligns with OCP residential policies and sustainable development objectives, as well as being more compatible with the design and density objectives of the Wildstone Golf Course development.”
Fraser also pointed out council should give consideration as to whether the proposal is in the long term, best interest of the City of Cranbrook with respect to land use and housing options as presented.
“Should council choose to proceed with the proposed bylaw, it is noted that the conceptual plans would not meet the Mobile Home Park Bylaw regulations and would need to be reworked to meet bylaw requirements. In addition, the applicants will be required to provide off-site improvements, complete Wildfire and Environmentally Sensitive Area development permits, and receive a Mobile Home Park Permit prior to any development taking place.
“Although staff have noted that the property has already been completely logged and cleared, the clearing and logging does not absolve the owners from applying for and receiving the Development Permits as per the OCP.”
The rational from staff made it difficult to not support the recommendations, noted Coun. Wayne Price.
Lead image from City of Cranbrook council package