villas approved 

Two villas ‘legalized’ Whistler council essentially "legalized" the first two villas in Whistler Monday when two operations in Alpine Meadows received third reading. The rezoning applications, at 8302 Rainbow Drive and 8147 Meadow Lane, still have to be adopted by council but that is usually just a formality. A third application for a chalet style operation in Spruce Grove was rejected by council. Several councillors said the new subdivision is "too immature" to consider rezonings. "This doesn’t preclude chalets and villas here in the future," said Councillor Dave Kirk, "but this is an immature neighbourhood." Kirk noted that two lots in Spruce Grove were designated for tourist accommodation when the subdivision was approved and suggested the subdivision needs time to develop as it was planned. The first houses were built in Spruce Grove last summer. A fourth rezoning application, for a bed and breakfast at 6170 Eagle Drive in Whistler Cay, was also approved by council Monday. All four applications came up for third reading two weeks earlier but only four councillors were available to vote at that meeting. Mayor Hugh O’Reilly, who lives in Nicklaus North where zoning allows nightly rentals of houses, has declared a conflict on tourist accommodation issues and does not participate in voting. Councillors Kristi Wells and Kirk were absent from the meeting two weeks ago. The four councillors at the Feb. 15 meeting decided that because tourist accommodations in residential areas have become such a hot topic that a minimum of five council members should be present before council deals with such matters. The bed and breakfast and the Rainbow Drive villa applications were approved Monday by 3-2 votes. Councillors Nancy Wilhelm-Morden and Kirk voted against the applications. Wilhelm-Morden has opposed increasing tourist accommodation in residential areas from the beginning, while Kirk voted against the two because of their proximity to other bed and breakfasts or pensions in those neighbourhoods. The municipality’s policy on bed and breakfasts and pensions had been that there should be at least 150 metres between two such operations. Under the new policy for tourist accommodation in residential areas, which includes B&Bs, pensions, chalets and villas, the 150 metre distance has been dropped and replaced by a limit on the number of tourist accommodations in a neighbourhood: 15 houses or 5 per cent of the houses in a neighbourhood, whichever is greater. Kirk feels the 150 metre separation between tourist accommodations should be maintained. The Meadow Lane villa rezoning application, which is more than 150 metres from any B&B or pension, was approved by a 4-1 vote, with only Wilhelm-Morden opposed. Applications for at least 38 more tourist accommodation rezonings have been received by the municipality. They are coming to council on a first come; first served basis. But with the policy to limit the number of rezonings to 15 or 5 per cent per neighbourhood, only a limited number will be approved.


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