Malone Road proposal raises traffic, drainage concerns in Ladysmith

Neighbouring residents raised concerns during a public hearing for a proposed mixed residential development in Ladysmith.

A proposal to build a mixed residential development at the west end of Malone Road raised concerns among neighbouring residents about traffic flow and drainage and stormwater management issues.

During a public hearing Dec. 3, a number of residents who live on or near Malone Road spoke not necessarily against the proposal but against the increased traffic that would come from the development.

The proposal is for a mixed residential development at the west end of Malone Road.

One of the bylaws being considered would create a Comprehensive Development Three (CD-3) zone for this property, which would divide it into three areas — one for single-family residential buildings, one for single-family and two-family residential and one for multi-family residential.

Up to 103 units could be built for those three distinct areas, explained Felicity Adams, the town’s director of development services.

For each area, the CD-3 zone provides regulations regarding building height, setbacks, accessory buildings, minimum lot sizes and density. The bylaw also places the Parks (P-2) zone on the two riparian areas that are being dedicated to the Town of Ladysmith.

The application is to amend the town’s zoning bylaw by adding Development Permit Area 8 — Malone Road Multi-Family Residential (DPA 8).

The DPA 8 areas are designated to protect the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity; establish objectives for the form and character of multi-family residential development; and establish objectives to promote energy conservation, water conservation and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The lands included within DPA 8 include a young Douglas Fir forest ecosystems with intact continuous forest stands; dry, rocky outcrops; and tributaries to Rocky Creek.

Jennifer Kay, a planning consultant working on behalf of the landowners, believes the range of housing types being proposed will provide options for Ladysmith residents.

“In general, we believe this application presents an opportunity for more affordable housing,” she said. “The mix of including both single- and two-family we believe is an appropriate balance in providing that range of housing types. We’ve heard from a number of people in the community that they feel Ladysmith needs more affordable housing options and diversity of housing types for younger folks who hopefully will have a chance to stay here.”

During the public hearing, Francine Travers, who lives on Malone Road, raised concerns about the proposal to develop up on a rock and about the town wanting to zone the riparian areas —  which have been identified as places where no development can take place — as parkland.

She was also concerned about stormwater management and the potential use of culverts, pipes and pumps.

The riparian areas are identified in the environmental report, and they fall under the rules of the Riparian Area Regulations, explained Adams.

“That’s why the town was interested in acquisition and having those as parks,” she said. “We have lots of parks that are natural parks, and that would be a natural park.”

As for stormwater management, a sediment erosion control plan must be developed for these lands before there is any construction, explained Adams.

During the public hearing, Travers also raised concerns about underground parking on the site.

“Up there is mostly rock, and when you start blasting, I’m not an engineer, but I’m just worried about the disturbance of the natural water flow,” she said.

The site is all hard rock.

Kay explained that the guidelines allow for underground, under-building or garage parking.

“From the very beginning, we have been considering the topography of the site, we’ve been working with staff to suggest that creative ways to managing parking would be required and that the desire is not to be blasting and creating flat land, but rather developing respectfully relative to the natural topography,” she said.

Rick Morencie was concerned with the northern end of the property near Rocky Creek and wondered what distance the development must be from the creekbed and whether that changes as the creek moves.

Will Vandergrift, who lives on Malone Road, said he had no problem with the development itself, but he was concerned about traffic flow.

“It’s a very busy street,” he said. “With this development, I anticipate the traffic will increase significantly, thus affecting the residents on the street who live there. I’m not against the development, but I do believe that a requirement of the developer should be to install traffic calming from Mackie to the end of Malone. I think it is his duty to do that for the existing residents in the area. A healthy vibrant town has development — I’m not against the development whatsoever — but as residents, we need to have a good community to live in, and I do think that increased traffic is not going to be pleasant for those who live there, but it could be bearable with traffic calming.”

Following the public hearing, council voted to approve the rezoning application in principle, subject to a number of conditions.

A development permit must be secured before any subdivision of land, the construction or alteration of a building or structure or the alteration of land.

Prior to the adoption of the bylaws for the Malone Road application, the required documents to allow for the dedication to the town of land containing the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area riparian areas must be prepared, as well as the required documents to allow for the dedication of the Malone Road extension.

A covenant will need to be registered on title of the land to secure the following:

• no clearing of trees and vegetation of the multi-family site until the overall development permit is approved

• provision of one serviced residential lot to Habitat for Humanity prior to any subdivision of land

• contribution of the pedestrian pathway and park staging area/entry to the park site prior to issuance of a development permit or subdivision of the land

• provision of a continuous fence at the back of the singe-family/two-family area

• a commitment to Energuide 80 energy efficient buildings; and

• a commitment to the construction of a minimum of 10 per cent of the multi-family units as adaptable units.

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