Nelson city council has accepted in principle a plan to build 306 housing units on golf course land owned by the Granite Pointe Golf and Recreation Society Inc.
At its Monday meeting, council passed first and second reading of a re-zoning and a change to the Official Community Plan (OCP) that would allow residential development on land currently not zoned for housing.
The next step is a public hearing to be held on Nov. 4, after which council will have to vote twice more. After that, details would be filled in during the subdivision process and the development permit and building permit stages.
The development is the golf club’s response to its financial difficulties in the past few years including falling revenues, debt, and decreasing memberships.
A consultant for Granite Pointe has written a neighbourhood plan and conducted a traffic study for the project. The plan is attached below.
The proposed development would be built over 15 years on 17.5 acres covering about 13 per cent of the golf course lands. It would include small commercial retail space.
There would be a mix of housing types — row housing, duplexes, and pocket neighbourhoods – and it would not encroach on any forested areas. There would be pedestrian walkways connecting to existing neighbourhood sidewalks.
Between new housing units facing existing Rosemont housing, there would be a 7.5-meter buffer zone retaining natural vegetation, and no balconies facing those existing houses. Also for buildings adjacent to existing housing there would be a three-storey height limit.
A traffic study conducted for the developer by a professional traffic engineer concludes the equivalent of three additional vehicle movements per minute will be created during peak afternoon hours.
The study recommends that the city ban on-street parking on West Richards in the area of Crease Avenue, monitor the Hall Mines-Vancouver Street intersection and possibly make it a four-way stop, install a new bus stop on West Richards, and install school crosswalk signage on West Richards.
The study also recommends new sidewalks on various nearby streets, and that the developer contribute 3.5 per cent of the future cost of upgrading the intersection of Highway 3A and Government Road, already a problematic intersection that could be strained further by the new development.
Many people in the immediate neighbourhood are concerned about increases in traffic and density.
The city’s response to those concerns, so far, are three measures mentioned above: the 7.5 meter easement between existing and new housing, the limit of three storeys for housing adjacent to existing housing, and additional sidewalks and street signage.
City councillor Cal Renwick said the city’s Advisory Planning Commission has looked at the developer’s neighbourhood plan and approved it.
Councillor Rik Logtenberg said the planned Step Code Three designation is not good enough and the project should be built to Step Code Five, a designation in which buildings produce as much energy as they consume (net zero energy).
The Step Code is a provincial initiative that aims to have all new buildings at net-zero energy by 2032, with local building codes gradually increasing their efficiency requirements in five steps.
“This is an investment in the very near future,” Logtenberg said. “We need to aim for a higher standard. This is an opportunity to be innovative. Otherwise I will not support this. If Step Five is not feasible today, then we should wait.”
He also said he hopes there will be charging capability for electric vehicles.
Councillor Keith Page wondered if the construction would affect the water supply of some adjacent residents who use well water.
City planner Sebastien Arcand said he could look into all these concerns.