Following the Official Community Plan public hearing Monday, Comox town planner Marvin Kamenz presented council with nine areas of concern stemming from the meeting, possibly triggering a future public hearing if recommended changes are accepted.
At Wednesday’s council meeting, Kamenz reviewed a matrix of concerns, with staff comments and recommendations.
Prior to his presentation, Coun. Tom Grant questioned the timing of the presentation, while Coun. Ken Grant questioned the implications of rushing the OCP timeline, as the minutes of the public hearing and the matrix were a late addition to the council agenda.
“We were just given all of this stuff,” Tom Grant said. “I would like to have a chance to go over this, digest it, compare it with notes I took at the public hearing and once we’ve had a chance to do that, then I would like to hear a presentation. But hearing a presentation right now I think is far to premature,” he noted.
“I would second that because I’ve been out of town all day and this is the first I’ve seen of it,” added Coun. Ken Grant. “I’ve got a whole whack of notes that I took at the public hearing and I didn’t even bring it tonight because I didn’t know this was happening. I just think give us a chance to read through this stuff, and then I’d like to hear what Marvin has to say after we’ve had a chance to read through this. Is there some rush that we have to get this through?”
Kamenz explained because of a limited amount of meetings in June, it is doubtful a public hearing could happen within the month.
“We have a long concern from the public expressed to the planning department that public hearings are not appreciated in the summer. People feel that they’re being done such that on the purpose they’re on holidays, so we like to have our public hearings wrapped up prior to school ending,” he noted.
Couns. Russ Arnott and Patti Fletcher agreed more time would be needed to review the information.
“I would prefer to see it until the (June 15 meeting),” said Fletcher. “I think the public would understand. Our first public hearing was in May, and late June is a very busy time as well. I think if a second public hearing has to go into early July, I think the public could accept that, and that we weren’t intentionally pressing them.”
Following a vote, Kamenz identified the nine concerns:
• the 0.5 hectare minimum parcel size for the Point Holmes area, complicated because some people want to reduce the parcel size to 0.4 hectares and others want to wait;
• Garry Oak habitat as it relates to one specific area;
• 685 Lazo Rd., with concerns raised over wanting to retain existing hotel motel development rights as justification for future multi-family residential and therefore higher property resale value;
• concern that a Kye Bay gross floor area (GFA) maximum of 300 square metres is too restrictive;
• concern about changing zoning of the Shoppers Drug Mart area at 1966 Guthrie;
• a change to permit apartments at 1582 Balmoral Ave.
• concern about changing the designation of 1611 Comox Ave. to permit bare land strata subdivision;
• the keeping of chickens on Butchers Road;
• public concern about restricting fences at a wildlife corridor to a maximum of four feet.
The next scheduled council meeting is June 15 at 5:30 p.m.