Forksdale development given final adoption

·3 min read

A controversial development on Forksdale Ave. is one step closer to reality as an amendment to both the Official Community Plan (OCP) and Zoning Bylaw were given Final Adoption at Tuesday night’s regular council meeting.

Council gave First and Second Reading to the OCP and Zoning Bylaw at the regular council meeting of Dec. 15. However, at that time, Councillor Bhangu questioned whether the proposed High Density Residential (R8) Zoning would conflict with the area’s already established neighbourhoods, and also objected to the R8 Zoning on moral grounds.

“My concerns are with density, I’m not a fan of high density simply because in my opinion I don’t think it harnesses the best in a human being,” said Bhangu.

At that time, Councillor Bhangu made a motion that the Zoning Amendment Bylaw be amended to limit the density to R7 across the entire development, rather than a mix of R7 and R8.

“The reason I would like to see this area as medium density as opposed to high density, as I think most of you are aware, I strongly believe that high density does not bring out the best in the human condition, nor do I like the direction that most communities are taking, where they’re trying to cram as much into a small space as possible.”

The motion to revise the density from R8 to Medium Density Residential R7 was carried by council.

“That amended zoning proposal was then brought to Public Hearing on Jan. 26 and later that evening was given Third Reading by council,” said Planning and Development Services Manager, Don McArthur.

There were no further questions for staff at the Feb. 9 meeting, “It looks like we’ve exhausted some of those questions previously,” said Mayor Linda Brown.

Indeed, staff had provided an exceptional amount of information and the proposed development had been debated at length by council the previous two times it had been brought forward.

A conceptual plan submitted by the developer shows an intended 32 townhomes in two storey buildings and 72 apartment units in a low-rise building, as well as a neighbourhood park of just under half an acre.

At the Public Hearing on Jan. 26, many area residents had come forward questioning the density of the proposed development, and also geotechnical concerns. Many believed that the neighbourhood should be left open for only single family home development, and that bringing in more than 100 new residences would potentially overwhelm services and utilities, as well as create traffic issues and put too much pressure on the local Bench Elementary school.

The Final Adoption of the OCP Amendment which would revise the land use designation from Future Development to Residential and Parks, Schools & Open Spaces was carried four to three, with Councillors Etchart, Bhangu and White opposed.

The Final Adoptions of the Zoning Amendment, which would rezone the subject property from Single Family Residential (R1) to Medium Density Residential (R7) and Park and Cemetery (P1) was similarly carried with Etchart, Bhangu and White opposed.

Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald