Wedge rezoning puts boundary expansion at risk 

Developer maintains right to build more homes, mayor refutes

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In this case the developers are allowed to build four homes on every 20 acre parcel of land. When the developable area is constrained to the east side of the highway, the parcels get smaller. Under the SLRD’s zoning bylaw, parcels less than 20 acres cannot hold as many as four homes.

Try as they might to find creative ways to maximize the development potential in the end SLRD staff, and the provincial approving officer, agreed that there could be 64 homes built on the east side of the highway based on the current zoning bylaw. If the developer wanted more, they would have to go through a rezoning process.

Ehrhardt calls allowing just 64 homes “the worse case interpretation of the bylaw.”

Putting the development on one side of the highway instead of sprawling over 600 acres is just good planning. They are doing the right thing he said, asking for exactly what the bylaw allows but in a tightened footprint.

“We should not be penalized because of us trying to do the right thing from a planning perspective,” he said.

Melamed said if the developers are trying to do the right thing by minimizing their footprint they wouldn’t be building estate lots.

“If they were really serious about minimizing their footprint they would build high density and they could build on two acres,” he said.

“They would have smaller lots, they would have mixed use and density and then you might actually be talking about smart growth development and design.”

Despite their concerns about fringe development like this relying on Whistler’s services, the municipality has accepted that the developers are allowed to build 64 homes.

Whistler council will not accept the rezoning to build 108 homes.

The SLRD board’s decision to support the rezoning at this early stage is affecting how Whistler conducts its business at the board table, as evidenced by Monday’s meeting.

For example, where once Whistler was willing to allow the rural directors to keep BC Hydro grants for community initiatives in their areas, it is now pushing to have that money go into general funds. (See related story.)

Melamed said: “I think it’s fair to say that Whistler’s position on the grants in lieu has been effected by the board’s decision to proceed with the rezoning.”

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