Residents push back on proposed development
By Nowell Berg
On June 25, City of Kimberley council held its regular bi-monthly meeting.
Councillors Kent Goodwin, Albert Hoglund, Nigel Kitto, Bev Middlebrook and Darryl Oakley were present along with Mayor Don McCormick. Coun. Sandra Roberts was absent.
CAO Scott Sommerville applauded by council and staff
Prior to the formal meeting, Mayor Don McCormick made a presentation to Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Scott Sommerville who received two certificates from the Board of Examiners (BE), Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
One Certificate was for Local Government Administration, the other in Local Government Statutory Administration. To achieve this statutory certification requires a combination of academic coursework and four years as a corporate or financial officer.
Mayor McCormick read a note from Gary Paget, Chairman of the BE, who wrote, “Scott is to be commended on his achievement which recognizes both his academic qualifications and work experience in local government.”
The Mayor continued, “On behalf of council and the staff at the City of Kimberley, I want to present both of these certificates. A job well done.”
After the meeting, Sommerville said, “As a public servant, I feel that it is important to keep upgrading my professional skills through coursework so that I can better serve the community.”
This fall, Sommerville will also receive the Professional Specialization Certificate in Local Government Management.
City of Kimberley in solid financial shape
In terms of Net Assets, the year over year (YOY) change swung from a debt ($2.8 million) in 2016 to a positive position in 2017 ($16,000).
This change resulted in “leaving the City of Kimberley in a positive net asset position, the first in a long time. Its good, a strong net asset position,” said Lee.
A decrease in city liabilities and an increase in financial assets created this positive change.
CFO Hendricks followed up saying about the positive net assets, “That’s a really good indicator of the strong financial health of the city. Its been a while since we’ve had a positive net asset position. We invested more in financial capital assets than they depreciated which was a goal council set out at the onset of their council term.”
The report also noted that taxes in arrears totaled over $215,000, which is almost $160,000 less than 2016.
Alpenglow Court residents push back on proposed development
The City Planning Department received a Development Variance request from property owner Craig Janzen. He owns the lot at 4 Alpenglow Court, which is on the corner with Norton Avenue (Google Map image above shows location of subject property).
Janzen’s request asked to sub-divide the property into three lots, two of which would be smaller than the minimum lot size required within the R-2 Single and Two-Family Zone.
The Planning Departments Report indicates the proposed changes in lot size would reduce them from the mandated 557m2 to 442m2.
The report also notes, “There are 585 properties currently under the 442m2 area requested by the applicant and over 1,000 properties under the 557m2 minimum size requirement. While none of these properties exist within the immediate area, density greater than requested exists along the west side of Alpine Crescent (225m2 per unit) and within the Tall Pines Development (437m2 per unit).
At the June 11 council meeting, council instructed staff to obtain feedback from Alpenglow residents who live within 50 metres of the proposed development.
The city received seven letters from Alpenglow residents who oppose the proposed development and one letter in favour.
Almost a dozen residents from Alpenglow Court were present in council chambers. While no formal public hearing on a development variance is typically held, Mayor McCormick allowed the proponent, Janzen, and dissenters to make short presentations to council.
Janzen started by saying, “I’d like to take this one large lot and turn it into three lots. These aren’t tiny homes on tiny lots.” He plans on building three single-family homes with four bedrooms each. His proposal indicates the homes will be “consistent with the alpine theme” of the neighbourhood.
He concluded, “We think it’s really good for the community.”
Toni Schwarzenberger, who sold the lot to Janzen, spoke against the proposed sub-division saying, “Nothing is Bavarian there, it’s high density with three houses standing there; it kills the subdivision.” In Schwarzenberger’s written letter to the city, he states, “There was a great deal of interest in lot four, but the reason we sold it to Fam. Janzen (sic) was that Craig promised with a handshake, to only build a single dwelling to provide more space for his five children. We even granted them a $15,000.00 discount, because it was that important to us to maintain the look of the Alpenglow Court, esp. the entrance.”
Joel Noth, who has a home next to Janzen’s lot said, “The houses that are [already] there are nice houses. [In-fills] would look bad in that neighourhood if you compare it to what the rest of the neighbourhood looks like. It devalues the rest of us.”
Anja Sol, owner of the Alpenglow B&B, which is across the street from Janzen’s property, opposed this development. She noted that her guests stay at the B&B because it is peaceful and quiet.
“It [the development] might have a huge impact on our business if we have three houses across from us,” she added. Her other concern was about the density and increases in the number of people living in the immediate area. She concluded, “I’m not against any development there but three houses on that land is too much.”
After some back and forth debate between council regarding the density, whether there should be three lots or two and is it up to council to instruct developers on the type of home they should build, the Mayor called for a vote.
It was split; three for, Mayor McCormick, Coun. Oakley, Coun. Kitto, and three against, Coun. Hoglund, Coun. Middlebrook and Coun. Goodwin. The tie vote resulted in the variance request being defeated.
Kimberley city council meets twice monthly. All meetings start at 7 p.m. and are open to the public.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled for July 9.