Today’s Poll

City preparing to weigh anchor on 900 Lakeside Drive

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
December 16th, 2019

The city is preparing to weigh anchor on 900 Lakeside Drive as the long-time project prepares to set sail in a new direction.

Known in the past as Kutenai Landing, the property along the city’s waterfront — across from the Prestige Lakeside Resort — is ready to enter the next phase of a possible development era after passing the first of three readings of zoning amendment bylaws to scale down the scope of the project parameters.

After first and second reading of the previous re-zone bylaw — and a subsequent public hearing — the potential to limit motorized vessels in the marina and adding commercial uses from the existing bylaw was investigated by city staff at the behest of council.

But the real reason for delving into limiting or eliminating more spots for motorized use in the 60-slip marina contained in the project concerned greenhouse gases, said Coun. Rik Logtenberg, and was about legacy technologies and building for the future.

“The challenge, I think, we have with a lot of these developments is, again, the role of government here is to nudge the market, to think differently and sometimes it hurts a little bit to do so,” he said.

He felt there was a concern amongst Nelsonites that the potential for 60 more motorized, fossil-fuel burning boats on the water would devolve a now beautiful resource of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake.

The engineer representing the landowners of 900 Lakeside Drive, Peter Ward, said the water use and location of the marina was passed by council and the community at a very large public hearing in the past.

“And that was the desire of the community at the time and that is the existing allowable use at this time,” he said.

But noise is a concern, Logtenberg explained, and an electric powered boat was seen as not as intrusive. He wondered what the purpose of the marina was in the scope of the project, and what value it held.

The idea of the marina was not a new idea, Ward said. It’s been there since the last rezoning.

“We just wanted to preserve an existing use. I also understand the Prestige (marina) is full,” he said. “But this marina would not be constructed unless the market and the public wanted to see extra boat slips and would use them. So it’s an opportunity to build something and market it.

“If no one wants boats slips in front of the site, then the developer would not build them. Are we going to see an increase in boat traffic because of this marina? That is ultimately the question. You can’t say there won’t be some new owners … certainly there is demand.”

Coun. Keith Page wondered about the new direction on the project from the developer — moving away from four, very large towers and an underground parkade — and whether the change was intended to reduce red tape on the project, provide options or was the city preparing it for something else to come forward.

Ward felt the vision of the previous developer was not the same as the vision of the community today, or the current owner of the property.

“I think we just found that the land has sat vacant for 10 years … we are just trying to give it more options, more freedom, not have as intensive of a project, and not have it tied up with all of the other agreements and zoning requirements that the previous developer (negotiated),” he said. “We just want to bring it back to the zoning that was there.”

The old MU2 zone would allow multi-family residential to be built on the site.

“We thought that would be the best vision for the area … to reduce the density and the zoning for what is existing on either side of that property,” Ward said.

“It eludes me how making less density makes it a more viable financial option,” Page asked.

Ward said the project could occur in phases under the old zoning, in smaller components, making housing units more affordable for people to purchase.

“This way we can break it down into some multi-family or townhouses in phases of four, 10 or 15 depending on what the market wanted, instead of building one tower with 50 units in it,” he explained.

Upon passing third reading a public hearing for the zoning amendment will not be held in consideration of its consistency with the Official Community Plan.

A city staff report noted that the applicant had agreed to limit boat slips for motorized vessels to no more than 50 per cent for a marina at this location.


Delving into OCP

The OCP identifies the Waterfront Central as a robust, mixed-use neighbourhood that reinforces the energy of the downtown.

Development in Waterfront Central zone is envisioned as commercial at-grade mixed with multi-level apartments, condominiums and townhomes.

Using the directives of the plan, Waterfront Central was zoned MU2, endowing it with the purpose to accommodate a mix of residential and commercial uses along the waterfront.

“However, it restricts certain commercial uses (retail, office, health services) to buildings adjacent to Hall Street in order to acknowledge the gateway aspect of this intersection and to encourage the extension of retail from the downtown core down Hall Street to Lakeside Drive,” read a city staff report to council.

Adding the commercial uses that are currently in the CD1 zone into the MU2 and P2 zones was in alignment with the OCP.

— Source: City of Nelson

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 director of Development Services, Pam 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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