Farrell Rd. covenant stays

Proposed development on Farrell Road will need to stay within the density limit

A proposed development on Farrell Road will need to stay within the density limit that was established 10 years ago through a covenant on the property.

A large standing-room-only crowd filled Ladysmith council chambers for the March 2 meeting, and most people were there to hear what council would do with a request to discharge a covenant from the lot at 606 Farrell Rd.

The title of the property includes a covenant held by the Town, and the language of that covenant indicates an intention to secure an overall 15-unit density limit and to give the Town the ability to control the form of development on the site, Felicity Adams, the Town’s director of development services, explained in her report to council.

In 2005, the previous owner completed an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment and rezoning process in which the subject properties were designated as multi-family residential and were rezoned to the low-density residential zone. As part of the process, a covenant was registered on the certificate of titles for the rezoned land.

In 2006, a development permit was issued for the property, and the first three units of the 15-unit development were constructed on the land. The development permit expired in 2008, as the project was not completed in the timeframe stated in the permit.

In 2010, the previous owner requested that council consider discharging the covenant, but council did not support the removal or replacement of the covenant.

The property was sold in 2014, and the current owner made pre-application inquires to the Town regarding development concepts, according to Adams.

The property owner has asked staff to seek council’s approval to release the covenant. The owner is proposing 25 new units, where currently, with the covenant, only 12 new units are allowed, as three have already been built on the property.

Explaining the history of the property, Coun. Rob Hutchins made a motion that council not support the removal or replacement of the covenant, just like council had decided back in 2010 when the previous owner approached council.

“When this initiative came forward, it was very clear, back in 2005 I believe it was, that discussion surrounded around the proposal for 15 units,” he said. “There was support in the neighbourhood for the proposal, but there was also concern expressed that ‘if you grant this 15, how do we know it’s not going to turn into 20, 25 in the future,’ so the recommendation was that we can assure that by the establishment of a covenant on the property.

“Five years later, the owner of the property wasn’t as successful with the 15 units, and he wished to dispose of the property and found it would be more disposable if the covenant was lifted. However, those members of council who were there at the time and were there in the rezoning process have a clear recollection that the community was supportive of the rezoning way back then because there was such a covenant. I don’t think things have changed there, so I am personally not supportive of lifting the covenant that was established there for the rezoning process.”

Noting that the proposed density is “way beyond” any kind of green planning so she wouldn’t stand for this, Coun. Carol Henderson pointed out how many people were at the council meeting and guessed that they were likely there because they opposed the request to remove the covenant.

“The lot is not suited for more than the 15 that was covenanted,” she said.