Courtenay council

Subdivision proposal causes stir in Courtenay neighbourhood

Courtenay council approved second reading of a rezoning application to subdivide a property at 1550 Willemar Ave. Owner Shannon Black hopes to subdivide the lot as a strata with a common private road access in the driveway, leaving the house in place and building five single detached houses behind it.

Black says a rezoning would fulfil a need for infill development, while adding a ‘bridge’ housing product would address a gap in price and product between condo/townhouse developments and the single-family home market.

The proposal has drawn some pushback from neighbours. Some worry about parking, others say their property values will drop.

“The quiet character of the neighbourhood will be destroyed,” wrote a resident at 1229 Cumberland Rd.

Homeowners at 1207 Cumberland Rd. are concerned about loss of privacy, and increased noise and traffic.

The couple at 1181 Cumberland Rd. said water run-off from new pavement and concrete at the build site would increase water flow, worsening conditions in an “area with an already high water table and poor drainage.”

The owner at 1625 Willemar would prefer to see the property subdivided into three larger lots.

Coun. Melanie McCollum said the proposal looks like a good use of infill.

Coun. David Frisch said it could provide more opportunities for affordable housing.

“The proposed application facilitates infill development within an established neighbourhood designated Urban Residential in the Official Community Plan (OCP),” a staff report states.

A public hearing will be held before council considers third reading.

Secondary suite proposal

Council approved second reading of an application to build a secondary suite in the basement of a house at 540 17th St.

A resident at 1732 Fitzgerald favours multiple unit zoning as a way to make more housing available, and to maximize density “before creating new neighbourhoods on existing woodlands and fields…Density is infinitely preferable to sprawl. This would be a small but important step in alleviating the housing crisis in this community.”

A resident at 1736 Grant St. is concerned about the driveway/walkway being blocked due to large gatherings, and compromised privacy due to increased back yard usage.

Council opted to waive the requirement to hold a public hearing.

Patio program

Council approved an extension of a temporary patio program to allow outdoor patios on private and public land to continue operating until Oct. 31, 2021.

The program pertains to patios on private property taking up spaces in parking lots, and public land on sidewalk and road areas. The latter can pose challenges in terms of snow and ice removal, and maintenance.