The controversial rezoning of Cobble Hill’s Xanadu Estate has again been sent back to staff at the Cowichan Valley Regional District for more review.
The CVRD’s electoral area services committee made that decision at a meeting on May 2 after Jane Barton-Greig, the owner of Xanadu Estate, informed the committee that she had hired a professional land-use planning consultant to determine if a different comprehensive development zone could be created for her property to bring it into compliance with the CVRD’s zoning bylaws.
Xanadu Estate is a five-acre rural property on Telegraph Road that offers a number of vacation suites and bed-and-breakfast accommodations for visitors.
Barton-Greig had previously raised concerns that she would have to close her business because she can’t afford the work that would be required to make the property compliant with the current zoning bylaws, and would have to evict long-term tenants.
CVRD planner Chloe Boyle told the committee that Barton-Greig and the consultant want more time to explore the possibility of developing new zoning because, if Barton-Greig has to comply with regulations under the BC Building Code as staff has been recommending, she is claiming that it would be prohibitively expensive for her, and could mean she would have to evict tenants.
“[Barton-Greig] wants to determine if there is development zoning that would allow for the same density on the property and the same uses, but the configuration might be slightly different so that meeting the BC Building Code regulations would be more financially feasible for her and would not result in any evictions of current tenants,” Boyle said.
Barton-Greig had already spent thousands of dollars in efforts to meet the CVRD’s zoning regulations.
But she said she was shocked when the CVRD informed her that she is required to spend approximately $50,000 more to do all the code upgrades for her primary residence, including installing sprinklers and all new dry walling throughout the building, as well as installing fully wired and connected smoke detectors which would require significant construction, damage to all the ceilings’ drywall and several walls throughout the buildings, and “renovicting” two long-term tenants as well.
The electoral area services committee decided at its meeting on April 20 to delay the rezoning process after Mike Wilson, the CVRD director for Cobble Hill, asked for time to consult with staff and Barton-Greig on the contentious issues around the rezoning.
At the meeting on May 2, Wilson made a motion, which was passed unanimously, that the issue again go back to staff, and that staff will arrange a meeting at a time to be determined with Barton-Greig and her consultant to discuss the rezoning going forward.
Wilson said staff have been as helpful as they can be so far in the process.
“From what I can make out, staff are quite willing to take a listen to what the applicant and her consultant have to say, consider everything that’s come forward, and then bring it back again,” he said.
“The intent [of my motion] is to give us a little more time to discuss what the applicant has asked for here.”