Valemount Council passes development permits, variance

Development permits and variances for three properties were addressed at Valemount Council on September 10. Some passed smoothly and some not so smoothly.

The Development Variance Permit for placing a storage garage within the setbacks at the RCMP station on 5th Avenue passed, with only one comment from neighbours, that one being in favor of the project.

The project manager for the RCMP also applied for a Development Permit for the same project, because the RCMP station is in the Highway Entry and Highway Corridor Development Permit Area. Development Permit Areas are defined in the Official Community Plan and this area is deemed important in providing the initial impression of Valemount to travelers. Requiring the Development Permit offers Council a chance to consider aesthetics of the project and potentially impose conditions based on the Design Guidelines for the area listed in the Official Community Plan.

Council agreed to issue the Development Permit with the conditions that the colors of the garage match the existing building, and that landscaping and screening be provided on the side of the building facing 6th Avenue. Council could also have required the exterior siding of the building be rock and wood, but declined to impose that condition, noting landscaping would soften the look of the building sufficiently, and the metal cladding in the submitted design was appropriate for an accessory building intended to provide secure storage for sensitive contents.

Council also passed a Development Variance Permit for a residence with a width of less than six meters to be placed on a Residential 1 (R1) zoned property on the west section of 14th Avenue. The east section of 14th Avenue is zoned Residential 2 (R2) which allows parking of heavy trucks, and does not specify a minimum width for houses. One neighbour opposed the permit, which allows the five-meter-wide manufactured home, installed on a foundation, to be on the property.

“I think it is great that we have a young family that wants to have a home and stay here, and not move away from the community,” noted Councillor Salt. “They’ve chosen to be here. We say we want children around to fill up our schools. Why would we discourage that?”

“We have to follow rules on behalf of everyone else that has been following them,” said Councillor Blanchette. “It is hard.”

Councillors Blanchette and Latimer abstained from voting on the Development Variance Permit for 1133 14th Avenue.

The second Development Permit was a subdivision issue of the three lots between Elm St and Bruce Place on 5th Avenue. The existing unoccupied house sits on the intersection of all three lots, and the Osadchuk estate has proposed redrawing the internal property lines so that the house sits only on the centre lot. A Development Permit is required before a subdivision permit can be considered because the property is located within the Central Business District Development Permit Area in the Official Community Plan. Deputy Corporate Officer Braden Hutchins noted that this is only a first step, and that if someone wanted to renovate the house, they would have to come to Council for another Development Permit.

“If (the property) is divided up, someone could consider taking on that home as a project,” noted Mayor Andru McCracken. “But the thing is you can’t buy a block of 5th Avenue and then have money to start that project; the scope is not right.”

Anne Yanciw, Chief Administrative Officer for the Village noted that dividing the property in a different configuration would have zero tax implication, but if the building is improved, there would be a positive tax implication for the village. She said the building inspector has had a look at the building, and feels that it is salvageable.

All Councillors voted in favor of the Development Permit for the subdivision of the Osadchuk property.