Process re-starts on zoning amendment of Kingfisher town houses in Kitimat

Kitimat Council has allowed the process to begin again to allow a zoning amendment for a town house construction proposal.

Many residents of Margetts Street have rallied against a proposal to build a town house complex along Kingfisher Avenue near the golf course.

The development would pit three-storey townhomes against Margetts residents’ backyards, and a list of potential problems and concerns were put on council’s lap at their July 7 meeting.

The presentation by residents came as council re-entertained a zoning application by the property developer to allow an extra 14 units over the existing allowable 40.

Council had struck down the application which typically creates a six month buffer before an applicant can return on the same issue, but the Community Charter does give a mayor the ability to bring an item up within 30 days.

Speaking on behalf of 10 homes listed on his submission to council was Margetts resident Leland Harris.

Harris’s backyard is among those most likely impacted by the development. His home backs on to the green space where town houses may be built.

Among Harris’ presentation, he said the current proposal “feels more like a camp” than a neighbourhood asset, his document said, and also the promise of a donation of park land to the District from the site is not that generous as the land is unsuitable for building and may effectively translate to a tax break for the developer.

On a larger scale, he said there is still uncertainty that LNG proposals will build in Kitimat and even if they do the town may not see its population back to its peak of approximately 14,000 people.

The town, he said. could be left with a glut of empty townhomes from an overbuild.

Ideally he said the town should develop complexes already built and left to decay before allowing new construction. He specifically pointed to the Alexander townhouses.

Councillors did approve first and second reading for the zoning bylaw amendment that would allow the extra 14 units. This sets off the process again of public consultation and review by the Advisory Planning Commission.

Since it is revisiting a previous motion, the motion on July 7 had to pass with at least four members of council in favour.

Phil Germuth was the sole opponent to the motion. The remainder of Mario Feldhoff, Edwin Empinado, Rob Goffinet and Joanne Monaghan were in favour. Mary Murphy was excused on a conflict of interest during the vote.