City Staff Happy With New Van Horne Development Plan, Kamloops This Week

This article appeared in the Kamloops This Week on July 18th, 2012 and was written by Andrea Klassen.

A re-design of a controversial proposed strata slated for land next to Aberdeen elementary school is getting solid reviews from city staff.

Though council already agreed to give Craftsman Ventures another public hearing to try to rezone 2171 Van Horne Dr., the development was back at council on Tuesday, July 17, for a few housekeeping measures that weren’t passed during the original reconsideration vote.

The developer is asking to have the 2.2-hectare parcel rezoned from church to medium-density multi-family.

Under the new design, the strata would have 58 units of duplex, triplex and apartment-style housing.

The original 64-unit plan was shot down by council in May due to concerns about how the development managed ground and storm water in an area with a history of water and slope-stability issues.

But city planning and development manager Randy Lambright said the new design, which directs storm water into a city gully east of the property, is a good solution to the problem.

“We are very comfortable with what they’re proposing,” he told council.

“It’s likely better than what they were proposing initially.”

The strata plan hasn’t been popular in the Aberdeen neighbourhood, however.

At the last public hearing more than 100 people showed up to raise issues with the plan. In addition to water issues, residents raised concerns about privacy, traffic and a loss of views.

Residents were also unhappy the property they had expected to some day house a church might instead hold rental housing.

Most dwellings in the area are single-family homes, and several residents argued the strata would change the character of the neighbourhood.

During an appeal to council in June, Rob Gobelle of TRUE Consulting — who spoke on behalf of developer — said the new design was meant to deal with some of those neighbourhood issues.

The nearest buildings are now 29 metres from nearby homes, instead of eight, and the number of visitor parking stalls on site was upped to keep traffic from spilling onto other streets.

Craftsman Ventures will pitch the updated site plan to Aberdeen residents at an open house at Aberdeen elementary on Monday, July 23, at 7 p.m.