Cart before horse: Williams
Spence thinks area could be destroyed

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (NOV 29/96) - Homeowners don't want the 36-unit project. And planners don't speak well of the idea.

But a proposal rolls along for a zoning change that could more than triple the density of dwellings in a residential area.

"Right now, Range Lake North is dead set against it," said area resident Ken Alton at a public hearing Monday.

RTC Enterprises, a company owned by local business person Tony Chang, wants to increase the zoning of 13 lots on a cul-de-sac at the end of Bartesko Court from single family residential to medium density residential.

Council has received six letters, including two from developers, and a petition with signatures of 21 residents, all opposing the change.

A staff report echoed concerns in the letters, noting it would allow for too many homes and reduce purchaser confidence in the stability of their neighbourhoods.

But the application survived a committee review and received a first reading from council Oct. 28.

Alderman John Dalton summarized the reasoning that prevailed: "I think we should allow this so we can at least take it to a public hearing and see what reaction is."

At the public hearing, Greg Herndier, vice-president of Urbco Inc., which RTC hired to draw plans for the property, presented a color rendering of a 36-unit development for the property.

But Herndier and staff noted the developer is not obliged to follow through with that plan or any other.

Dalton asked senior administrator Doug Lagore if the city and RTC could pursue an agreement on the property while the approval process continued.

"Between second and third readings (of the bylaw to enact the change), if we don't have a satisfactory development agreement, we could stop the process," explained Lagore.

He later added there would be no more public meetings on the development and residents would not be notified of any designs agreed upon before third and final reading of the bylaw.

While Dalton and Blake Lyons supported continuing the approval process, other aldermen were not so sure.

 "I'm a little confused here," confessed Merlyn Williams (left). "Aren't we putting the cart before the horse? How can we make an intelligent decision without knowing what's planned?"

"Why do this in an established area?" asked Ruth Spence. "We have a new area in Niven Lake that could be built in without destroying an established neighbourhood."

Though council deferred second reading of the bylaw, the process appears to have taken on a momentum of its own. Administration is seeking a commitment from the developer for a specific plan.

If the zoning change goes through, it will be the third designation for the property in the last 30 months.