Council rejects Cedar Valley townhouse proposal

Mitchell Street residents brought a petition to council against the proposal

Council voted 5-2 to reject a high-density subdivision proposal Monday at public hearing, the first time the new council has rejected a development.

The application on Cedar Street near Tunbridge Avenue would have seen 38 townhomes ranging in price from $260,000 to $300,000, and 21 single-family homes with 21 rear coach houses ranging in price from $400,000 to $450,000.

A 22-signature petition against the development was presented to council from Mitchell Street residents who said the development was too high density and posed parking and traffic problems the area could not absorb.

But in a phone interview Tuesday, developer Rick Redekop said the current official community plan (OCP) zoning designation for the area theoretically allows for even higher density than he was proposing under his OCP amendment.

“It’s confusing for someone like me who comes in thinking this was a good project,” he said. “There’s so much emotion involved in a meeting like that, people are not talking clearly about what they want or expect.”

The current OCP would allow a theoretical minimum density of 38 apartment units and 29 townhomes, which is more than what Redekop was seeking. But several people argued the 21 accessory coach houses would create a higher density desirability than was reflected in the OCP.

Most councillors seemed to agree.

“I’ve got some really big concerns about density,” said Coun. Nelson Tilbury, who voted against. “In this case they’re trying to put in houses with coach houses in behind.”

“I’m all for high density in high-density areas. This is not that,” said Coun. Dave Hensman. “This is a residential neighbourhood that’s now going to have a high density tag on the end of it.”

Only Coun. Larry Nundal and Mayor Ted Adlem voted in favour.

“I think as a council we have a responsibility to do what’s right for the majority of the taxpayers of this community,” said Adlem, adding it’s unfortunate the residents on Mitchell Street didn’t ask what the OCP plans were when they bought their houses, but that isn’t the fault of the developer.

Redekop will now meet with the district’s planning department to see what will help to make the development more appealing.

“The beauty of a public hearing is that [people] have the right to be heard and they were and I appreciate that process 100 per cent,” he said.