More details are required on a proposal to turn one Mudge Island lot into four, thereby creating three new densities, in exchange for an unspecified community amenity.
At a spring Local Trust Committee (LTC) meeting, trustees heard what Planner Chloe Fox said was the third subdivision proposal and the fifth report, on rezoning applications from Mudge Islanders Scott Littlejohn and Mary Beckstead. Fox said the latest iteration proposed creating four bare-land strata ocean-front lots of about one-third acre each, and donating about seven upland acres towards a community amenity.
The application proposes creating a community water system, using either a well or desalinisation, for the water-front lots. It also proposes locating a sewage system on the upland dedicated portion of the property.
As previously reported, the Mudge Island Official Community Plan (OCP) allows amenity zoning – or an increase in density in exchange for a community amenity – because the island has been extensively subdivided and has few other ways to get parkland and other public space.
Also as previously reported, Coho Boulevard, a road that runs much of the length of Mudge Island, runs through the property, but has not been publicly ceded, and is not a Section 42 road. The proponent originally offered the road as the required community amenity.
A Section 42 road is one which hasn’t been surrendered to the Province but one to which the Province has a claim as it has been maintained by the Province.
Fox’s report said all the applicants’ proposals had included a request to add three new densities to the lot. It said the small lot sizes first proposed were “deemed inadequate” to meet Vancouver Island Health Authority water requirements. It said the second proposal which proposed four “hooked lots” – or lots that are divided by a road – was referred to the Mudge Island Advisory Planning Commission (APC), who recommended that the LTC deny the application, but said they would accept an increase in density to permit two lots in exchange for the road. In response, the report said, the applicant asked for time to amend their proposal.
Fox said there were still concerns with the current proposal. She said it still included an increase to four densities, and the land’s carrying capacity could be challenged by how the dedicated land might be used. She said that the Mudge OCP allows increased densities in exchange for protection of environmentally sensitive areas, parkland, community docks, a fire hall, or a community hall.
The applicants had not indicated what type of amenity they would offer to the community, Fox said, and wanted to hear from the APC on their proposal before addressing a number of issues required in the OCP for an amenity rezoning.
As the number of proposed densities in the application was still higher than what the APC had recommended, Fox recommended that the LTC wait for these questions to be answered before sending the new proposal back to the APC.
Fox also recommended that the LTC institute a “cost recovery agreement”, requiring that the applicants pay for future planning and legal costs with respect to their application.
Trustee Gisele Rudischer said it could be expensive to acquire the required information, and the APC might still be opposed to the application. She said if the seven acres proposed for community dedication were to go to park, it would mitigate some of the density increased. She said this was not so if it were used for something like a community hall.
Trustee Sheila Malcolmson said even if the APC liked the application, other agencies might not allow the subdivision. She said normally the LTC only refers proposals that they think have a chance of being accepted by other agencies. She was also concerned about the impacts of desalinisation, and the requirements for community water and sewage in the proposal.
She added that the Mudge OCP was just adopted a few years ago, and reflects the community’s sentiments. She said the list of rezoning requirements above came from those bylaws.
LTC Chair David Graham noted that the LTC could also reject the proposal. Rudischer said she would not to do that if there is a chance the community could get seven acres of park.
She also noted that the applicant had implied that the land might be sold. Fox said she understood that it had been for sale for some time.
Besides resolving to have the applicants address the OCP issues, trustees also moved to initiate cost-recovery measures for future staff work on the application.
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