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Posted: July 21, 2021

Wildstone Lot 5 density increase defeated by council

City of Cranbrook council July 19 defeated the third reading of OCP and zoning amendments for Lot 5 on Wildstone Drive, which if approved would boost density for a 237-unit multi-family, rental apartment development.

Council’s decision came following an hour-long (Zoom) public hearing for City of Cranbrook Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 4047, 2021 (Lot 5 Wildstone) and City of Cranbrook Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 4048, 2021 (Lot 5, Wildstone).

Neighbouring strata board representatives addressed council, noting concerns and opposition.

Gary Knight, president of the Boulder Creek Strata, expressed concerns to the amendments due to density and safety, noting the Wildstone area to be “a one exit community” and could lead to a “recipe for disaster.”

Wally Eddie, chair of the Winn Strata, agreed and shared similar sentiments.

Richard Haworth, representing companies that own land around the golf course, expressed support for Crowne Pacific’s plans, noting the increase in density would make Wildstone’s club house more viable.

“The overall vision for the community has always included a higher density development such as multi-family townhouse apartments, congregate care apartment uses as permitted on this parcel. We’ve always envisioned these uses being incorporated throughout the community, including on Lot 5. A wide range of housing options has always been included in the plans of Wildstone.”

Legacy Lookout resident Tom White questioned “the amount of building going on right now,” noting the city “doesn’t have the industry to support” 2,000 new residents, nor available social infrastructure. “I disagree with the location.”

Glen Blake, development manager at Crowne Pacific Development said the Lot 5 plans are intended to provide greater variety of housing at Wildstone and also address the city’s needs for more rental housing.

“This location is a good location to satisfy that requirement,” he said.

Crowne Pacific does not allow sub-letting, Blake added, answering a question from Coun. Mike Peabody.

Getting to council’s decision took a number of steps.

The City of Cranbrook received an application from Crowne Pacific Development Corp. to amend the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and Zoning Bylaw to enable development of a parcel within the Wildstone golf development lands. The applicant is proposing to develop a 237-unit multi-family, rental apartment development on the subject parcel. To accommodate the proposed development, the applicant is proposing text amendments to the Wildstone Neighbourhood Plan in the OCP by amending Table 5.3 and Table 5.4 of the Wildstone Subarea.

On May 31, council gave first reading to Bylaw No. 4047.

On June 14, council deferred consideration of the proposed bylaws and directed staff to conduct a Committee-of-the-Whole meeting to give council an opportunity to seek clarification regarding the proposed development. A Committee-of-the-Whole Meeting was held Monday, June 21.

On June 28, council gave the bylaws second readings, scheduled the public hearing and referred the bylaws to APC for recommendation.

On July 13, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) notified the city that they require additional review time and will not be signing the bylaw. The city’s Advisory Planning Committee considered the amendments on July 12 and recommended that council not support the bylaw amendments, citing similar concerns to those raised in the letters submitted. One member voted to support the zoning amendment.

“As part of the required public consultation, an advertisement was placed in the local newspaper and adjacent landowners and occupants were circulated for comment. At the time of writing this report, verbal calls and numerous emails and letters have been received. Most calls sought general information, and indicated concerns about proposed density, increased traffic, or potential blocking of views,” a city staff report stated.

Coun. John Hudak

Coun. John Hudak pointed out the city has received more than 100 letters expressing opposition to the amendments “and many of their concerns are valid and are not against the development of Lot 5. The main sticking point appears to be the size and type of development.”

He concluded the current bylaw “adequately serves the needs of our city now and in the future” and would not support the amendments.

“This issue has created considerable ongoing conflict in our city,” said Coun. Wayne Price, noting he’s concerned the city might ignite “future conflict” by supporting the amendments.

“It is a substantial increase in density,” he said, cautioning against setting precedent.

“I don’t think this is the right development in that area at this time.”

Coun. Ron Popoff said the developer has a good reputation in the province and thanked them for interest in Cranbrook.

However, the city is in a better place now in terms of filling some its housing needs and more proposals are coming forward.

He added he doesn’t believe Wildstone is the best location for rental units, suggesting more central locations would be better, especially to help revitalize the downtown.

“I would certainly welcome this developer to consider some of the other properties” available in the city to develop.

Coun. Norma Blissett said she’s been “very conflicted” on how to vote, pointing out she’s in favour of multi-family housing in the city.

Mayor Lee Pratt

However, after reviewing letters from area residents addressing the amendments she found most of them do not support them and she could not support it as a result.

Coun. Mike Peabody said, “We definitely need the rentals and there is a market for high-end rentals” and despite Wildstone residents speaking loudly, he supports the amendments.

“It’s a tough decision. I know 85% of the people up there and they’re not happy about it,” said Mayor Lee Pratt.

However, ongoing development is necessary in the city, he said.

Council voted four to two against the amendments, with Mayor Pratt and Coun. Peabody voting in support. Coun. Wes Graham was absent.

See the city staff report, including comments from the public.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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