Comox town hall. Black Press file photo

Valley developer taking Town of Comox to court over delayed subdivision application

“All we’re asking council and staff is to do business in a manner where we can work together”

A Comox Valley developer is taking the Town of Comox to court because of what his company claims is a “dire” situation in order to obtain a response on their subdivision application.

Shawn Vincent of Simba Investments, along with Russell Tibbles whom Vincent hired for assistance, appeared in front of Comox council at the Dec. 7 meeting as a delegation, one day after their application to the BC Supreme Court was filed in Nanaimo.

Tibbles explained to council the situation involves an 18-acre undeveloped piece of property owned by Simba at 1000 Pritchard Rd.

The developer is seeking subdivision approval for 48 single-family lots that do not require rezoning.

“It’s one of the most straightforward types of development approvals,” he said.

He explained Vincent has submitted three development applications to the town with the last one submitted on Feb. 18, 2022, and added the town’s subdivision bylaws provide that an application is forfeit if an applicant does not provide requested information within six months. He believes all necessary information has been requested for the town to make a decision.

Earlier in the fall, Simba’s lawyers sent a letter to the town, but Tibbles said after 10 months, the company resorted to an application to supreme court for judicial review.

“These are extraordinary and unusual steps. Yes, there are times when applicants find they have difficulties with approving authorities. I have never in all my experience been involved (in anything like this).”

He added there is a fear that the relationship between his client and the town will disintegrate further, but added, “it’s gone to such a point there’s not much more to lose.”

An issue of contention was a requirement for a 20m width on a pedestrian walkway, said Tibbles. He expressed concern that the size is an excessive width, a waste of valuable land, and is in excess of the existing community standards and goals as expressed in the Official Community Plan.

“All we’re asking council and staff is to do business in a manner where we can work together,” added Vincent. “The conversation tonight is about 20m, but it’s more than that – it’s how we do business together.”

In the petition, it noted Simba does not seek any particular outcome, but simply seeks that a decision be made.

At the conclusion of the presentation, Mayor Nicole Minions reminded council and the public there is an upcoming business development review with council coming up in January 2023.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.



photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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