RR1 land owners to meet with municipal staff 

Twelve owners of large parcels of land zoned RR1 will be meeting with municipal staff in the next week or so to discuss community priorities and options for their lands.

The meeting comes in the middle of a public hearing, which was adjourned Tuesday night, on a bylaw which would rezone the remaining privately held RR1 lands in the valley.

Don McQuaid, representing the 12 owners, requested the meeting at Tuesday’s public hearing.

"Many of the owners have met individually with municipal staff in recent years," McQuaid said. "We want to meet as a group."

The 12 land owners, whose properties include the old Rainbow site, the so-called Zen lands, and others, got together last week for the first time.

"We recognize the community’s planning principles and policies," McQuaid said. "But if you force these land owners to build estate homes you will lose the ability to build employee housing. We understand the BCAL lands and the municipality’s relationship with Intrawest, but the RR1 land owners can be a resource to the municipality."

McQuaid said the 12 owners are willing to take part in a plan that will work toward environmental and social improvements for Whistler.

The bylaw that is the subject of the public hearing would rezone privately held RR1 lands to a new RS-E1 zone. The rezoning would designate RS-E1 lands as development permit areas, meaning any development on the lands would require permits for the protection of the natural environment and protection of development from hazardous conditions.

Sharon Jensen, also representing the land owners, requested the public hearing be adjourned to allow staff a chance to hear what the land owners have to say.

Council agreed. The public hearing will resume June 4 at 7 p.m.

The bylaw does not apply to Lot 3 of the Zen lands, the wetlands portion of the property which is zoned for a trailer park, rather than RR1. Those lands were the subject of another rezoning bylaw which received first and second reading later in the evening.

The bylaw to "downzone" Lot 3 (which was opposed by Councillor Kristi Wells) would eliminate virtually all permitted uses on the land, with the exception of a public nature conservation park, a private nature conservation park, unsheltered ecotourism-based use, or an unsheltered school for teaching ecotourism and other nature based programs.

While the downzoning was supported by all but Wells, a resolution by Wells to make another attempt at negotiating with Zen was passed by council.

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