Nelson council plans to make changes to the zoning in two parts of Railtown.
Last year the city rezoned the Railtown part of Baker Street and the vacant land to the west of the end of Baker (the part shaded yellow on the map below) to encourage mixed use and live-work development.
This year, the parts of Railtown that are up for changes are those shaded brown.
In the area labelled MU 3, the current allowed uses are:
• building supply, contractor services, custom indoor manufacturing, mechanical service and repair
• market, live-work, neighbourhood pub, retail, restaurants
• residential use when combined with non-residential use
• indoor recreation services, veterinary clinic, short term rental
• cannabis retail, craft brewery/distillery.
To that list the city wants to add: art gallery and museum, care services, early childhood development services, entertainment facility, health services, mobile food vendor, mobile retail vendor, printing and publishing, professional business services, public administration, public assembly, social services centre, indoor urban farming, multi family residential.
In the part of Railtown labelled MU4 on the map, what is allowed by current zoning is:
• building supply, light industrial, mechanical repair and services, indoor manufacturing
• car wash,commercial storage, retail warehouse contractor services
• live-work, mobile food vendor, neighbourhood pub, off street parking and structures, cannabis retail
• recreation services, printing and publishing, regional commercial, veterinary clinic, animal daycare, broadcasting studio, commercial school.
To this the city wants to add indoor urban farming, which Aasen says does not include indoor cannabis growing.
At the open house, Aasen said some residents wanted to see priority given to affordable housing. According to the proposed zoning, multi-family housing would be allowed in the MU3 zone but not MU4, to help preserve the industrial land base. The MU4 zone would allow one dwelling unit with each permitted commercial/ industrial use.
“They want the city to make sure zoning is not a barrier,” she said, and added the overall Railtown plan offers many housing options.
She says some commenters wanted to see not just zoning to allow affordable housing but for the city to intervene more aggressively to promote affordable housing construction.
She also said people asked about light industrial and office space. The MU4 zone is made for that, she said, and the proposal is to bring more flexibility to small scale manufacturing, enabling tasting rooms and seating areas.
And people asked about the definition of urban agriculture, wanting to know if it included cannabis cultivation, which it does not.
“That was intended for food-related purposes,” she said.
Residents also wanted to know about promised changes to access to Railtown, specifically about the four-way stop at the highway. Aasen said this was not part of this rezoning and would be looked at sometime in the future.
Others expressed relief that there is no housing proposed in Cottonwood Park, although the zoning proposal still contemplates the possibility of housing adjacent to it, according to Aasen.