Editor’s note: Since this story was originally written, North Cowichan has cancelled all public hearings due to COVID-19 concerns.
A delegation from Crofton wants its voice heard at a public hearing in North Cowichan on March 18.
The group is expected to hand over a petition to the municipality with more than 100 signatures against a proposed housing development on Adelaide Street.
Spokesman Gary Shelton said the proposal by Sundance Properties for an 11-lot subdivision at 1378 Adelaide St. calls for a new access road into the property to be just 11 metres wide rather than the 15-metre width that is mandatory.
Staff are recommending that the road change to 11 metres be given the green light by council, and Shelton said the neighbours have concerns with that.
“If vehicles are parked on either side of the road, emergency vehicles wouldn’t be able to get through,” he said.
“This same proposal was turned down last year for the same reason. If council allows this, it would set a precedent for other developments and that raises serious safety issues.”
The petition also mentions a number of other concerns, including that allowing the development would leave the children in the neighbourhood with nowhere to play.
Council had nixed a proposal by Sundance Properties for a 15-unit subdivision on the property in 2018.
At the time, the developer was looking to build smaller single-family homes on lots averaging 442 square metres on the long and thin one-hectare property.
The developer was also willing to commit to donating $500 per lot to affordable housing initiatives in North Cowichan, and construct some parkland and trail connections on the site.
But many neighbours of the proposal spoke against it at a public hearing, stating a number of concerns, including inadequate parking, issues with water drainage and the dust and noise from construction, and some claimed the density of the housing in the proposal was incompatible with the rural lifestyle of the area.
North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring acknowledged that the thin property is “awkward” for development and it’s possible that assembling some other adjacent properties into the development proposal would be better.
“But we can’t force landowners to sell their properties or the developer to buy them,” he said.
“The proposal does meet some of our density and green goals (an open drainage feature at the north end of the project would be maintained and protected as green space), but some of the neighbours feel it just doesn’t fit there. At the end of the day, it will be up to council.”
Sundance Properties held their own information meetings for their new proposal with the immediate neighbourhood on Feb. 26 and 27, as mandated by council, and the municipality will hold its public hearing on the issue on March 18.
Following the public hearing, council will consider giving the development third reading.
The final adoption of the bylaw, should the application pass third reading, would not be scheduled until a subsequent council meeting following confirmation that rezoning conditions, like the registration of covenants, have been satisfied.