Another multi-unit townhouse development has been proposed by Tyee Homes, this one located at 2501 Rotary Drive.
At a regular City Council meeting on Monday, June 11, 2018, there was a public hearing to discuss the proposed R-12 zoning amendment. Council voted to proceed with the amendment after hearing both from residents, and Carl Lauren of Tyee Homes.
Lauren explained that the proposal includes seven duplex buildings, two five-plex buildings and one six-plex building, for a total of 30 units. If all goes well, the development will be completed in nine phases, starting with four units (duplexes).
Several residents who live in the neighbourhood spoke at the public hearing, addressing concerns about privacy, land development, an increase in density and traffic, and construction.
Resident Anders Johnson says he is not against the proposal, however he worries about privacy and the fact that the original proposal was more comparable to that of Mark Creek Crossing.
“This will change the dynamic [of the neighbourhood],” said Johnson, who added that he is “not convinced” there is a need for this type of housing in Kimberley.
Resident Malcolm Fruin explained that he and his wife Joan would be most affected by the development stage.
“We are not requesting a paved road at the start of construction, but just one that ensures heavy traffic will not be using the south access to Huckleberry Lane as its main access,” wrote Fruin in a letter to Council.
Lauren says that Tyee will do exactly that; ensuring that neighbouring residents are disturbed by construction traffic for as little time as possible.
In terms of privacy, Lauren added that no matter the development, whether they are townhouses, duplexes, or single family homes, given the location there will still be windows that look at neighbouring yards. He explained that Tyee will also be planting trees in a strategic way to provide some privacy.
“I believe that our proposal best meets the needs of Kimberley,” said Lauren. “More affordable means more density and townhomes are the way to go to get prices down.”
He added that there have been over 150 inquiries into both proposed developments, the one in question along with the proposal for a multi-unit townhouse complex at 580 Mark Street.
“There aren’t many options in the City and although I appreciate any and all comments, I believe this is the best use of this kind of property,” said Lauren. “The buildings have been designed to reflect a traditional mountain style of architecture and compliment the existing Mark Creek Crossing development that is adjacent to it. The site has been carefully planned to maximize the density while still maintaining comfortable yard space, and a planned 2.5m wide trail access path from the development to the [existing] trail, encouraging walking and biking.”
With regards to land development and the setbacks of the property, Lauren says that the houses will be at least 30 feet from the edge of the bank, and there are “no qualms” about the geotech; no trees on the bank will need to come down.
Council discussed the proposal before voting to proceed with the zoning amendment.
“I’ve thought about the concerns; I read the letters before the meeting. Change is hard, and there could be some slightly negative impacts, but I think when you look at balance, this is going to be a good project for Kimberley,” said Councillor Kent Goodwin.
Councillor Sandra Roberts said, “[some residents] may not be aware of the fact that we’re getting so much demand for this type of housing that people can actually afford to move into. It’s overwhelming how difficult it is to find a place to live in Kimberley.”
Councillor Bev Middlebrook says that she understands the concerns of residents in the neighbourhood, however the location will provide distance and therefore a little more privacy.
“There’s nothing worse than losing your privacy, and there’s nothing worse than losing your view,” said Middlebrook. “I’ve experienced that. I can understand how they [neighbours] are feeling, at the same time, that’s quite a ways away. It’s not five feet. There’s a road and a big yard…it’s a ways away.”
Mayor Don McCormick says it’s not just about building new units, but also freeing up homes that already exist.
“Affordability these days is really about footprint. Higher density is the way to more affordability, especially for younger families that are looking to get into units,” said McCormick. “[In terms of] empty nesters, one of the big side benefits of empty nesters moving in to higher density living is that their homes are now put on the market. It helps take the pressure off some of the single family home issues that we have in town.”
He added that units of these kinds are “key” to resolving the overall housing issues Kimberley has.
“This is a good problem to have. It’s a problem of opportunity, really. We’ve had a large population growth in the last five years. People just want to live in Kimberley and we have to come up with a solution,” he said. “We’re very lucky to have a local builder like Tyee to be able to weigh in on this.”