There will be no age restrictions for people interested in buying homes at Laketown Ranch’s new housing development, if the project to construct a large residential area on land it owns adjacent to its music festival site is allowed to proceed.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District’s electoral area services committee voted on the issue at a meeting on April 6 after concerns were raised that the housing development, which is proposed to include 182 manufactured homes and 50 cabins intended for year-round living, would be limited to seniors with no access for young people just entering the housing market.
Greg Adams, the project’s proponent, said he’s 100 per cent in a agreement with the housing development being for all ages.
“I think the market will, to some degree, decide the age people will buy in, but I have no problem putting pen to paper if something needs to be put forth regarding that the development is open to all ages,” Adams said to the committee.
“You’re preaching to the choir in regards to this. It’s out-of-the-box thinking and I’ve seen the success at Chemainus Gardens.
“Because of the entertainment component, the proximity of Lake Cowichan and with the amount of young people working through the Internet these days, this will be attainable housing for young people as well.”
Laketown Ranch has applied to the CVRD for rezoning to build the manufactured homes and cabins, as well as three single-family dwellings to be used as caretaker residences and 122 year-round RV camping sites, on more than 40 hectares of land it owns.
After some discussion, the committee also voted that there be no daily rentals of any of the project’s housing units, but decided against making it mandatory that renting units should have to be a minimum of a month.
Adams said he doesn’t want to see short-term rentals either, but believes there is some value in longer-term rentals of at least a month.
“We can’t get the market to behave the way we want, but we can influence the market by bringing on product,” he said.
“If someone came in and tried to buy two units for monthly or yearly rentals, they are still available to the public. With the volume of units available, there are lots of opportunities for people to live there.”
Klaus Kuhn, the CVRD’s director for Youbou/Meade Creek where the project is proposed, took exception to committee members wanting to micromanage all the details of the project.
“We’re chiseling and chiseling at it and this whole process is ridiculous,” he said.
“Why don’t we go with the motion originally on the table [that there be no age restrictions] and leave all the short-term rentals and all that stuff out and trust the developer a little bit rather than try to nail him down on every detail? Come on guys, get off of it.”
Lori Iannidinardo, director for Cowichan Bay and chair of the board, said it’s part of the committee’s job and responsibility to raise issues and ask such questions of applicants.
The electoral area services committee decided at its last meeting that the CVRD will host a public information meeting on the project before it goes to a mandatory public hearing.
Senior planner Bev Suderman said the public information meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 28, and the public hearing is expected to be held sometime in June.