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Rezone for Kutenai Landing stalled in water by marina question

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
October 9th, 2019

The idea of a new marina serving 60 boats did not float in council chambers as city council looked to write the latest chapter in the Kutenai Landing saga.

Third reading on the rezone for the much-discussed property along Lakeside Drive on the city’s water front will now have to wait for a city staff report on the options for the 60-spot marina, one of the development’s features.

The idea of allowing another 60 boats — some or all of them potentially motor boats — onto the waters of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake did not sit well with the majority of council.

“We need to look at some of the options we might have to have some control over the marina’s layout,” said Coun. Jesse Woodward.

“Is the cost of development the loss of the natural beauty of the area?” he asked. “As development moves forward what are we willing to give up for that?”

His concern was echoed by Coun. Rik Logtenberg.

“I’m happy to see this project come forward,” he said. “But we’ve heard from the public on this one that development of a marina is of concern.”

He wondered if council could require that the marina spots — reduced in the rezoning to 60 — be for non-combustion-based motors on the boats.

City director of Development Services, Pam Mierau, said council would have to come up with a new use and define it for that sort of condition to take place.

Coun. Keith Paige said he wanted to have that conversation, as well as including allowing and encouraging houseboats on the waterfront.

The concern over 60 more boats on the waters in front of Nelson was not as big of a concern, explained Coun. Cal Renwick.

He said many of the people who currently bring their boats on a trailer down to the Lakeside Park boat launch would likely fill the roster at the new marina, not 60 new boats.

“I don’t see a problem with the marina,” he said. “People are always looking for places to keep their boats.”

However, the options council could be requesting might come with a price tag, warned Coun. Janice Morrison. She said the builder pays for a lot of the amenities up front and then that cost will be reflected in the cost of housing.
“So be careful what you ask for,” Morrison said. “It is all going to be reflected now into that housing … Someone has to pay the developer at the end of the day, and the more you ask to be put in, the more the ticket price of that housing will be.”

Sun Holdings 3 Inc. has applied to rezone 900 Lakeside Drive from CD1 Kutenai Landing Zone to MU2 waterfront mixed-use residential and commercial zone for the land portion of the lot, P2 water use zone for the portion of the lot that extends into Kootenay Lake and P1 park, open, and recreational space zone for the waterfront.

The current zoning of the property is tied to a comprehensively planned, site specific development for five buildings and a marina and includes multi-unit residential, seniors’ residential, retail, restaurant, office and a marina.

“The applicant feels current zoning for this property is unworkable, and would like to re-zone back to the same zoning as the rest of the waterfront in order to facilitate development,” said Mierau.


Good to go: APC

The application for the development was presented to the city’s Advisory Planning Committee (APC) at its July meeting, with the recommendation for approval of the rezoning application.

In late June 24 an open house was held on-site at the intersection of Cedar Street and Simpson Road with 20 people in attendance.

“Attendees were generally excited about the project with the reduced building height, the reduced density and the opportunity to construct the project in phases seen as positive elements of the proposed zoning,” noted a city staff report to council.

As required by the bylaw, a “notice of development” sign was erected on the site in June. The city’s Development Services’ contact information is on the sign, but there have not been any concerns regarding the rezone.

The application was circulated to city staff in Nelson Hydro, Engineering and Public Works, Building Inspection and Fire and Rescue Services. No concerns were noted.

— Source: City of Nelson

For 12 years the property has been vacant. Eleven years ago a rezone for the property was approved by the city but, as a condition of the rezone, a covenant was placed on title requiring all future development on the site to comply with the development plan.

That plan included five separate phases and five separate buildings, road improvements to both Cedar and Simpson streets, sanitary, storm and water servicing infrastructure.

The deal also included sidewalk and street lighting, use of green infrastructure principles and an affordable housing contribution of $1,100 for each residential unit with a minimum contribution of $150,000.

However, the current zoning for the property has been deemed “unworkable,” and has suggested that rezoning the property back to a standard waterfront zone would facilitate future development on the site, either for the current owner of “through a future land sale,” said Mierau.

The MU2 zone allows a mix of residential and commercial uses along the waterfront.

“(S)ome office is encouraged adjacent to Hall Street in order to acknowledge the gateway aspect of this intersection and encourage the extension of retail from the downtown core down Hall Street to Lakeside Drive,” Mierau said in her previous presentation to council on the matter.

The rezone would also mean a reduction in height allowed on the land from six storeys to 4.5 storeys, reducing density on the land, scaling back the commercial, eliminating office, retail and other commercial uses with only restaurants and neighbourhood pubs allowed as commercial uses.

Mierau said live/work would be allowed on the site, which would allow office or custom indoor manufacturing at grade with residential above.

Brownfield development

The property is still a contaminated site registered with the Ministry of Environment.

The site received a Conditional Certificate of Compliance on Sept. 10, 2001. Seven years later the Ministry of Environment gave approval for release of a development permit for the first phase of Kutenai Landing and approval of zoning and subdivision.

At the time the approval was contingent on the owner retaining a “qualified environmental consultant to identify, characterize and appropriately manage any soil and/or water of suspect environmental quality encountered during any excavation work at the site,” noted the city staff report.

A site investigation and remediation were required to obtain a certificate of compliance prior to a building permit being issued.

“To date, this work has not be undertaken as there has been no development on the site,” said Mierau.

A new certificate of compliance may be required given the age of the documentation, she added.

Mierau stated that “any development on this site will require further site investigation, any required remediation undertaken, and an approved certificate of compliance confirming satisfactory remediation from the Ministry of Environment prior to receiving a building permit from the city.”

— Source: City of Nelson

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