The RDN is considering an application from Baynes Sound Investments Ltd. (BSI), the owners of three large parcels of land in Deep Bay, to change the designation in the Official Community Plan (OCP) from Rural Lands and Resource Lands to Village Centre. This change to the OCP is required before the applicants can make an application to rezone the properties. The Village Centre Land Use Designation is the only designation in the Electoral Area 'H' OCP that supports the type of higher density mixed-use development being proposed.
The proposal is for a mixed-use development on 76 hectares of land consisting of 386 single and multi-family dwelling units, 6,795 square metres of commercial space, parks and other public spaces, and a 292-space recreational vehicle park. The land is currently zoned for rural residential use with the potential to create up to 20-25 lots that are 2 hectares or larger.
The application to amend the OCP requires an amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) because all electoral area OCPs must be consistent with the RGS. A change to a land use designation in the OCP is not permitted unless the change is consistent with the RGS. The RGS has designated areas for growth in the electoral areas which are called Rural Village Centres. As the RGS does not currently designate a Rural Village Centre in Deep Bay, a change to the RGS is required. Even though the RGS must be changed before the OCP can be changed, the two amendments will be considered concurrently.
Under the structure of the RGS, Rural Village Centres are the only places where developments like the BSI proposal are supported. There are currently 14 Rural Village Centres in the RDN's electoral areas with three of those in Electoral Area 'H': Dunsmuir, Qualicum Bay and Bowser.
Unlike the OCP and zoning bylaws, an owner of land cannot make an application to amend the RGS bylaw. An owner of land may make an application to amend the OCP and if that OCP amendment also requires an amendment to the RGS then the RDN's Electoral Area Planning Committee (consisting of the six electoral area directors for electoral areas A, C, E, F, G and H) must agree to support the application and get approval from the RDN Board to consider a change to the RGS. If the RDN Board agrees to consider a change to the RGS then the process to amend the RGS is in Part 25 of the Local Government Act.
The BSI application involves the proposed expansion of the Growth Containment Boundary (GCB) to create a new Rural Village Centre in Deep Bay. Consistent with policy 4.3 of the Regional Growth Strategy, the applicant has been asked to provide the following information to support their request to expand the GCB:
A land inventory demand and supply analysis that assesses the need for additional land to be included within the GCB and the impact the proposed expansion would have on the development of land inside GCBs located elsewhere in the region;
A land use concept plan;
An environmental impact assessment that identifies environmentally sensitive areas;
A surface water or hydro-geological study that assesses the availability and quality of water to service the proposed development with a community water system, and the potential impacts of development on watershed function, including recharge capacities and surface runoff, as well as, on long term water supply to existing development and undeveloped lands located within GCBs;
A study that identifies how wastewater disposal will be addressed and what the impacts will be on the capacities of existing treatment facilities;
An evaluation of the impacts on community vulnerability to disasters and impacts upon the provision of emergency services;
An inventory of aggregate deposits within the proposed boundaries of the GCB;
A transportation study that identifies:
Existing road traffic conditions;
Downstream impacts of additional traffic resulting from the proposed development;, and
Demand for transit service.
The process to amend the RGS is outlined in the Local Government Act. The first step in the process to amend the RGS is for the RDN Board to adopt a resolution that it intends to consider a change to the RGS. If the RDN Board decides to consider a change to the RGS, as it did at the April, 2013 Board meeting, then the next step is for the RDN Board to adopt a consultation plan. The consultation plan must state how its citizens, affected local governments, first nations, school district boards, greater boards and improvement district boards, and the Provincial and federal governments and their agencies will be consulted. Community consultation follows adoption of the consultation plan.
As with any parcel in the RDN, a land owner can make an application to amend the bylaws that apply to land use on their property. The RDN Board has the discretion to decide whether an application will proceed through the bylaw amendment process. For this application, the RDN Board has decided that it wants to hear from the community before deciding on whether to support the application moving further in the bylaw amendment review process.
The applicant is proposing to build a new sewage treatment and disposal system to service the development. A preliminary study states that land-based disposal is possible with the potential for some spray irrigation for agricultural use. Protection of the aquifer and the water quality in Baynes Sound is a priority, so the sewage treatment and disposal system that is provided must protect these important values. Details regarding the type of treatment and location of facilities will be required as part of the OCP and RGS bylaws amendment process.
Water will be provided by the Deep Bay Improvement District (DBID) which uses groundwater supplies. The applicant has provided a preliminary servicing report that indicates that there is enough water in the aquifer to supply the proposed development along with all other users of the DBID system. The DBID water delivery system is currently not sufficient to service the proposed development so upgrades to the system are required. Proof that there is sufficient water and that the required infrastructure will be in place prior to the development proceeding will be required as part of the OCP and RGS bylaws amendment process.
The applicants are proposing to take a number of measures to protect the environment. One is to dedicate 50 per cent of the land as park and open space with areas set aside for conservation and rehabilitation. Second, the development will employ best management practices to conserve, reduce and re-use water as well as provide a high level of waste water treatment. The developer is committed to reducing the amount of impermeable surfaces to allow aquifer recharge, incorporating best management practices for stormwater management into the development and preventing deleterious substances from entering surface and ground water and the marine environment. Exact details are still to be developed and will be a required as part of the OCP and RGS amendment.
The applicant is proposing to have a direct connection to the proposed development from the Old Island Highway (19A). A traffic impact assessment concludes that this new connection will be able to handle peak traffic flows at build out. As well, the assessment also concludes that there will be little impact on adjacent roads. Confirmation from the Ministry of Transportation and Highways that they will accept the new road connection to Highway 19A is required as part of the OCP and RGS bylaws amendment process.
The form of ownership for the residential component of the development will be a mix of fee simple and strata. A strata subdivides a property into individual units (strata lots) and common property. Strata ownership is most often used where individual dwelling units share a common wall such as a townhouse or apartment condominium. Each strata owner has title to their individual unit plus a proportional share of the common property. A strata development does not necessarily preclude public access to the development. Streets, parks and other community amenities can be open and accessible to the public. The only parts of the development closed to the public are generally the private dwellings and their associated yards. A "gated community" is not supported in the OCP or RGS and therefore a requirement of the OCP amendment will be that all main roads, parks, trails, waterfront and other community amenities are open and accessible to the public.