Qualicum Beach hears opposition on proposed rural zoning amendment, carries third reading

The owner of 545 wants to rezone the rural lot to allow six cottages. || Graphic courtesy of the town of Qualicum Beach
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Qualicum Beach town council heard public opinion on a rezoning proposal that would permits six new dwellings on rural land.

The site at 545 Nenzel Road is currently zoned to permit two single family dwellings and two secondary suits. The owner wants it rezoned to allow six new cottages. Previously they were planned to be rentals, but the proposal has changed so they can be purchased and the lot can be rented by the new owner.

Many who attended expressed concerns about it being outside the town’s urban containment boundary and official community plan (OCP). Some criticized the proposal because the new model closely resembles a mobile home park.

“I would say the OCP is clear, that it states, additional urban development shall not be approved outside the urban containment boundary,” said Coun. Anne Skipsey.

Coun. Scott Harrison pointed out the project supports general goals of the OCP, such as promoting demographic diversity and removing barriers to more affordable homes.

He also pointed out that a single dwelling, which could have the same floor area as all six proposed homes, would be permitted under the current zoning.

“Why is it then that following our policies to the letter facilitates mansions in rural areas, but not affordable housing for young workers?” he said.

Skipsey said she believes the conversation on rural properties would be better to have during an OCP review. She was the only member of council to vote against third reading of the zoning amendment.

“I have an issue with spot rezoning. I think it creates a mismatch of zoning and it also can create the perception of favourites, whether it is or it isn’t,” Skipsey said.

Council also briefly discussed whether a monetary community amenity contribution (CAC) should be considered for the development. Coun. Robert Filmer said he believes any project that can help the town with affordable housing is already contributing to the community. 

Mayor Brian Wiese also said he does not think a CAC is a good idea for the development.

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