The District of Hope is now holding virtual public hearings for new developments in town, starting with a June 3 hearing into a proposed subdividing of a Willow Street lot.
Things will look a little bit different with public hearings in COVID-19 times, yet the district’s director of corporate services Donna Bellingham said there is plenty of opportunity for public input provided people are proactive ahead of time. For the hearing Wednesday, June 3, people can submit their comments in advance via email or through the district hall mail slot, or call ahead to be placed on a speakers list for the hearing.
“I will put those people in the speaker’s list and give them the conference call dial-in number,” Bellingham said. “And the mayor will have that speaker’s list at the meeting and then call upon them to speak at that time.”
The reason for this new format is that the size of council chambers doesn’t allow for physical distancing. At present only two to three staff members, as well as the Mayor, attend meetings in-person while councillors phone in.
The public hearing for Willow Street will take place 7 p.m. June 3, via a livestream broadcast on the district’s Facebook page. The developer is asking to be able to subdivide the 607 Willow Street property into two lots.
There is currently construction ongoing at lot 23, the corner lot on Willow Street, with a three-bedroom home being built and up for sale at a price of $639,000. The public hearing pertains to lot 24, the adjacent lot in on Willow Street, which a developer wants to have subdivided into two compact single family residential lots. As the neighbourhood is zoned single family residential (RS-1), subdividing the lot would entail changing the zoning to compact single family residential (RS-2).
People can submit their comments via email to Jas Gill, Director of Community Development, firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Donna Bellingham, Director of Corporate Services, email@example.com, or faxed to their attention at 604-869-2275. They can also drop letters at the district hall mail slot. These submissions have to be in the hands of the district by noon on the day of the public hearing.
To get on the speakers list for the hearing, Bellingham said people need to call 604-869-5671 before 4:30 p.m. on the day of the hearing.
A public hearing is set for each week in June, Bellingham said, and all will happen in the same manner as the June 3 meeting. These include a June 8 hearing for 21088 Lakeview Crescent, to allow for the construction of a duplex. A June 15 hearing will consider the rezoning of 320 Forrest Crescent, also to construct a duplex. On June 22, Kellton Construction’s plans to build a three-storey residential and commercial building at 711 Water Avenue will be considered.
By fall it may be possible to have in-person hearings, Bellingham said, yet this all depends on the advice of public health officials and may involve work arounds and strategizing on the part of the district. “It would be prudent for us to be cautious,” she said.