Building permit issued for Zen lands 

A building permit for a 5,000 square foot house on land that was earlier proposed for employee and market housing was approved by council Monday.

John Zen?s company Oka Holdings, which owns 111 acres between Function Junction and Alta Lake Road, on the west side of Highway 99, submitted the development permit. Zen?s property is in four parcels, one of which has zoning for a trailer park.

Last fall Zen proposed rezoning his land to permit approximately 242 market bed units in townhouses and single family lots, as well as 820 employee bed units in apartments and townhouses. In turn, he would have dedicated 67 per cent of his property for environmental protection. The rezoning proposal has never come to council for consideration.

A 5,000 square foot house is permitted under the existing RR1 zoning and will be permitted under proposed changes to the zoning.

Consultant Marianne Wade told council the application was for a single family house and driveway only. "We are not applying for auxiliary uses, we wish to work with staff on that," Wade said.

The property includes substantial wetland areas and is crossed by a number of creeks. Environmental analysis of the site has been done with previous development proposals.

Councillor Ken Melamed expressed concern about fragmentation of the ecosystem with the proposed house. Melamed asked staff if the municipality can withhold the building permit if staff are not satisfied with steps taken to protect the environment. Senior planner Robert MacPherson confirmed that can be done. MacPherson said it was difficult for the municipality to say "no" to any development on private land.

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