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Rivendale development in Brackendale given the go-ahead.

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With zoning that permits multiple family residential development already in place, the project to build 24 units was seeking property setback variances for some of its balconies while reducing some the units’ yards size.

These adjustments were needed to accommodate the Diamond Head Development proposal, district planner Sarah McJannet told council. The property presents challenges for development, as it includes a BC Hydro right-of-way and a municipal storm culvert and dike.

“These things have largely dictated the layout,” she told council.

Speaking on behalf of the Brackendale Owners and Tenants Association, Glenne Campbell said district officials picked and chose zoning bylaws to “establish more favourable space to the developer by allowing for different lot area and siting requirements.”

Although the project sits on land zoned RM-2 which accommodates medium-density townhouse development, the proposal was submitted at a time where two family dwellings where permitted subject to applicable RS-2 regulations — single family and two-family dwells.

“Please be aware that RS-2 requirements are considerably different from RM-2 requirements,” Campbell said. “So we ask, which is it — RM-2 or RS-2?”

The additional bylaw specifies applicable regulations regarding the duplexes, specifically siting, McJannet explained, but its density and height don’t apply to the RM-2.

Coun. Ron Sander and Patricia Heintzman questioned why neighbours weren’t notified of the development permit’s variances.

Under municipal legislation, there is no public notice requirement for a development permit variance like there are for development variances such as rezoning, McJannet said.

“Development permit approvals are not discretionary decisions of council, in the same way rezoning is,” she said.

Heintzman requested this policy be examined, particularly when the development permit includes a number of variances.

With the exception of Heintzman and Coun. Bryan Raiser, the development permit was approved. The Paddocks, a nine-townhouse development beside the Rivendale project, was granted some of the same setback variances that this proposal sought, Coun. Susan Chapelle said, noting they were also opposed by the neighbourhood and now Paddock owners are opposing this project.

When talking about a few feet, Chapelle said she didn’t see the requests as a big deal.

“I look forward to these people moving to town and providing new economic development,” she said.

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