Salt Spring Local Trust Committee decisions made on Tuesday, Feb. 26 will help bring two affordable housing projects closer to reality, although ultimate completion for each site will also rely on approvals from other agencies.
As part of the application stream at last week’s business meeting, the LTC gave the green light to a development permit at 210 Norton Road and gave second reading to the rezoning of 154 Kings Lane.
Need for a development permit at Norton Road was triggered by a subdivision application currently underway with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and fulfills one of eight conditions that planning staff submitted in response to the referral.
Speaking for property owner Norm Elliott, consultant Donald Gunn explained the plan is to separate a seven-acre parcel with an existing family dwelling from a five-acre parcel where 26 affordable dwelling units are proposed. While the northeast corner of the property lies within Development Permit Area 4 for streams and wetlands, the housing development is planned for the southern half.
The project was first devised as an amenity proposal related to a subdivision on the side of Mount Erskine, and came with a $50,000 donation toward housing development. A rezoning process that began in 2004 changed the property from an agricultural to a residential category.
The applicant is now working on a stormwater management covenant and a development variance permit that will also be needed for subdivision. Gunn said time is of the essence to get those items onto the LTC’s agenda because there is considerable pressure to sell the property as part of a divorce settlement.
“The problem is there are lawyers involved in this project and they are going to want to put this property on the market this spring,” Gunn explained. “It will be sold, subdivided or not. So what I’m basically saying is time has run out on this project. Twelve years has gone by to get it this far.”
Gunn said organizations that might want to partner on the affordable housing project are also looking to see a good chance of success. Representatives from Island Women Against Violence, who are currently building new affordable housing units at Croftonbrook, were in attendance at the meeting for that reason.
Gunn and planning staff agreed they would do what they could to ensure the next stage comes back to the LTC on its March 26 agenda.
Development of the housing units will require establishment of water supply, as only the single family dwelling lot will have a North Salt Spring Waterworks connection.
The Meadowlane seniors’ housing complex planned for Kings Lane will also need to get Island Health approval for its alternate water supply system, as well as connection to the CRD sewer service.
An update on the project given prior to second reading of the rezoning application last Tuesday demonstrated the Gulf Islands Seniors Residence Association is well on its way to meeting a number of other requirements. The LTC approved in principle the draft housing agreement, which sets a maximum unit rental for 2020 at $1,620, based on 30 per cent of the median household income reported in the most recent census.
Project lead Richard Walker reported the organization has engaged a consultant to undertake an archeological impact overview and has formed an agreement with Island Pathways to develop an amenity pathway along Blain Road. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has no concerns with the proposal or its impact on traffic, Walker said.
For more on this story, see the Mar. 6, 2019 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.