A decision on a rezoning application for a large property in the Johnson Heights neighbourhood has been pushed back after council opted to delay scheduling a public hearing due timing concerns around the election.
Members of the Revelstoke city council voted in favour of reading Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2345 a first and second time during the council meeting on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, but did not grant the applicant — who submitted their application back in 2018 — a public hearing; instead, they deferred the decision to the next council.
The proponent Walkabout Holdings Ltd. wants to rezone the lot, currently zoned as rural residential, to build single-detached and two-unit dwellings at 1121 Johnson Way. The application, submitted in 2018, has been stalled, standing in the way of any building progress, says John Bastemeyer, the proponent of the development.
In a city report, Paul Simon, Lead Planning and Development Services, recommends a first and second reading and scheduling a public hearing for Oct. 25, 2022. The report also outlines the infrastructure obligations needed to develop the neighbourhood.
The report states that as part of the Johnson Heights Neighbourhood Plan development, infrastructure needs to be built to accommodate building out the community. This includes the construction of an internal road, something the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) has set requirements for and needs to approve before the bylaw amendment is adopted. “It is unlikely that following the hearing on the 25, those requirements would be completed,” said Simon.
Ultimately, council’s decision to amend the motion that would have scheduled a public hearing on Oct. 25, was deferred to the new council that will be elected on Oct. 15. The new city council will be sworn in on November 1, 2022.
Simon noted that it is unlikely that the MOTI will have approved the requirements that affect their interests by the time of the hearing, making it so the council cannot do a third reading and adopt the bylaw following the conclusion of the hearing on Oct. 25.
Council, divided on the decision during the meeting, decided to defer the decision to the next council.
Councillors Michael Brooks-Hill and Tim Palmer said they believe that the timing of the process is not optimal for the current council to schedule the hearing. Councillors Nicole Cherlet and Rob Elliot opposed the amendment to defer the meeting to the next council, saying they believe the proponent has been waiting too long for a decision and the new council will not be as well versed on the application as the current council.
“I just want to make it very clear, I am supportive of it going to a public hearing,” says councillor Tim Palmer who suggested the amendment to the decision. “It’s that timing that councillor Brooks-Hill is talking about that is important because of the election and new council that will ultimately be making the decision.” Palmer said he is conflicted because of the length of time the developer has had to wait for a decision.
John Bastemeyer, the proponent of the development, says he’s disappointed by their decision and that the process is taking too long. He says he’s trying to provide solutions to the housing problems in Revelstoke that would also provide safer access to the neighbourhood with the new development, but progress has been slow.