Kimberley City Hall. Bulletin file

Kimberley City Hall. Bulletin file

Kimberley council to go ahead with Forest Crowne rezoning despite opposition

The city of Kimberley’s efforts to allow more flexible zoning in certain parts of town in order to provide more diverse housing options ran into some opposition last week, as a zoning change in Forest Crowne received a public hearing.

The rezoning application is to change the zone from R-9 single family dwelling to R-1, on one lot, which would allow a detached accessory dwelling. City Planner Troy Pollock pointed out it would not allow for short term rental.

Council had 18 letters from residents of the subdivision regarding the rezoning request, with two in favour and 16 against. They also heard from three people who called in to the public hearing, one the proponent and the other two opposed to the rezoning.

The proponent wanted to put to rest a rumour that they planned to build two dwellings and rent both of them. That was not true, he said. They did spent winters in the south, but the fact that they are snowbirds doesn’t diminish their commitment to the community. He said he understood the resistance to change, but just because something was different, didn’t mean it was bad.

The opposition to the rezoning had a couple of key concerns. The first was the addition of extra vehicles, perhaps parking on the street, which created safety concerns in a neighbourhood without sidewalks. Others who opposed the rezoning said that they had researched zoning carefully before building in Forest Crowne, and didn’t feel it was fair for it to change once they had already made the investment. Another said that there would be more rezoning requests, especially with 41 new lots being made available in the coming months.

However, Pollock told council that Planning was standing by its recommendation that the zoning changes go ahead. He said allowing accessory dwellings was supported by the Official Community Plan, and they were an effective way to increase housing diversity.

“We stand by our recommendation to proceed,” he said. “Despite opposition, it relates to our initiatives to expand opportunities for housing. I remind council that zoning is not meant to be a static tool. It evolves to meet community needs.”

Coun. Jason McBain added that for those concerned with setting a precedent, council considers rezoning requests on a case by case basis.

“Just because you make a decision on a certain amendment doesn’t mean it’s set in stone going forward,” he said.

Coun. Sandra Roberts, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor Don McCormick, said that precedent was set when council passed the new zoning rules in a bylaw last fall. However, she did say that changing the rules when people are already in place was a tough call for her, but the city did have to satisfy its need for growth.

In the end council voted unanimously to move ahead with the rezoning and gave the bylaw third reading.

READ: Kimberley Council approves third reading on zoning amendments

READ: City of Kimberley to host public hearing on zoning bylaw amendment

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