Comox council approves variance permit

Council ignores residents’ requests for delay on development permit

  • Oct. 26, 2015 4:00 p.m.

Erin Haluschak

Record staff

Following a lengthy discussion and neighbours citing various concerns for their Jane Place homes, Comox council approved a development variance permit to allow construction of a neighbouring new one-storey home overlooking the waterfront.

Owner Colin Eves applied for a development permit, floodplain exemption, and rear and side setback variances for his property at 85 Jane Pl.

During their presentation as a delegation, neighbours Leon and Shelley Bohmer told council their concerns and noted their disagreement with the DP and floodplain exemption.

“The exemption being applied for in our opinion is extreme – it’s an 80 per cent exemption. What you thought were the bylaws now get thrown out the window. It’s like anything goes in Comox,” noted Leon.

“Whatever is going to happen is going to have a big impact on us.”

Fellow neighbours Carol Baert and Dave Hone supported Bohmer’s request to have the decision delayed for two weeks so they could get clarification on the application.

The proposed home would be a 1,715 square foot single-family residence, explained Eves.

The floodplain exemption he is seeking from the standard horizontal minimum setback is 15 metres. He added in order to mitigate the impact of the house on the view lines of the adjacent neighbours, he is seeking a variance of the rear setback requirements, to a minimum distance of 2.4 metres.

Eves noted the building height will not change, and having a low house near a bank will have minimal impact of the view for other homeowners.

After a presentation from town planner Marvin Kamenz, Coun. Barbara Price noted the proposal is “complex” and supported the idea of a two-week delay, but a motion to do so was defeated by council.

While Coun. Marg Grant noted she has concerns with the extremity of the variances, Mayor Paul Ives said while they are extreme, he reminded council “this is a very unique property.”

“It takes some creativity and it’s going to take some extremes,” he added. “There’s not a perfect answer to this building lot.”

Coun. Hugh MacKinnon expressed his disappointment with council on not approving a two-week delay.

“Sometimes people need to take a deep breath; I think we’ve rushed it.”

Price acknowledged she will support the proposal if she could get assurances of the set building height – 5.75 metres from where the ground exists – which Kamenz said are written into the proposal.

The motion was approved with two members opposed.

• • •

A bylaw to establish a reserve fund for operating and capital costs related to policing, public safety, emergency and disaster response and recovery was formally adopted at Wednesday’s council meeting.

Last month, council gave third reading to creating a fund for costs related to policing, public safety, emergency and disaster response and recovery.

In his report to council, Don Jacquest, director of finance for the town, noted in the past the town has established numerous reserves for capital spending, but none for operating costs.

Both he and the town’s chief administrative officer Richard Kanigan met with RCMP Insp. Tim Walton, as he inquired on whether the town had a reserve in case the RCMP had to launch a large-scale investigation in Comox.

Additionally, as Comox is under the 15,000 population threshold mark, the town pays 70 per cent of RCMP costs, rather than 90 per cent (as with a population over 15,000), at which time costs are likely to rise $300,000 per year.

• • •

Council awarded Proxenos Consulting – a Comox Valley company – for the Town’s website redesign project.

The contract is valued at $25,000 (plus GST); council budgeted $30,000 for the project.

In his report to council, Jacquest noted the proposal included all three optional modules and is still within budget.

He recommended Proxenos as it is the best value for money.

He also noted the proponent – Matthew Meredith – developed the Comox Valley Fire Department’s website.

 

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