Cash and amenity's offered for increase density 

Cash ‘amenity’ offered for increased density

The Dandelion Daycare Society’s construction budget for the new Spring Creek daycare is about $200,000 short of it’s $1 million target, but help could come from an unexpected source.

Brothers Glenn and Larry Houghton have offered to cough up $250,000 for the new day care in exchange for permission to build bigger houses on the Taluswood parcel they received from Intrawest as part of the Emerald Forest exchange deal.

In January this year the Houghtons applied to rezone their Taluswood property from its multi-family zone to permit the construction of two 3,500 square-foot houses, one for each Houghton. This was in keeping with the maximum density of 7,000 square feet over the entire site.

However, in October, the brothers made a formal request to increase the size of their houses to 5,000 square feet each. They said the 3,500 square feet per house did not meet the needs of the Houghton families.

In return for the added density they have offered to provide the municipality with an amenity, specifically in the form of a $250,000 contribution to the Spring Creek day care.

Under the new Local Government Act, the municipality may consider giving "bonus" density upon the provision of a community amenity.

When this proposal came before the Advisory Planning Commission last month, an APC member was worried this could set a precedent for other developers to buy density.

Another member questioned the decision-making process and asked why the money was going to this particular day care and not another community amenity that needs funding. Staff replied that the decision was made by the applicant and senior RMOW staff. The APC member felt there should be more public input in the decision to allot funds and that the APC should not support specific societies.

To approve the Houghtons' request, council would have to rescind the first two readings given to the earlier rezoning proposal. The new proposal would then need second reading and another public hearing would have to be scheduled.

The Houghton application was on the council agenda for the Nov. 20 meeting but was pulled at the last minute.

The Houghton brothers were also slated to make a presentation on their proposal at the Dec. 4 council meeting. That too did not happen.

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