Questions about zoning, street closures at Castlegar community plan meeting

The public hearing to discuss the City of Castlegar’s new community plan and zoning bylaw attracted few residents, though there were some questions raised about new regulations and zones. 

Michael van Hausen, the project lead from MVH Urban Planning & Design, and his team attended the June 17 meeting to present Community Plan Bylaw 1427 and Zoning Bylaw 1428 to the public and answer any questions. 

Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff brought forward a question asking about what the new Neighbourhood Mixed-Use zone (C4) would allow for and what changes were made to the Manufactured Home Park zone (now R4, previously R-5).

Speaking to the first point, MVH senior planner Fraser Blyth explained that small-scale, neighbourhood commercial is limited to one or two-story mixed-use buildings that include coffee shops, day cares, offices or small retail.

The plan further specifies that the goal is to “permit local mixed use [sic] commercial in areas that best serve the neighbourhood,” and the new zone fits with the community plan’s priority to “diversify the city’s neighbourhoods.”

Jonathan Schmidt, MVH senior planner and project manager, said that Castlegar’s current zoning bylaw (Zoning Bylaw 800) does not contain regulations for creating a new manufactured home park, specifications for directional signage or emergency signage that needs to be displayed for emergency responders to find specific units, or specifications on open space and distance between units.

A man who identified himself as a community volunteer asked about the possibility of closing Fourth Street to vehicular traffic permanently, as mentioned in the plan, and suggested closing Third Street instead.

Meeri Durand, Castlegar’s manager of planning, development and sustainability, responded that the possibility of closing Fourth Street to traffic either during special events, temporarily, or permanently comes from the city’s Downtown Area Plan.

“I don’t think that precludes looking at other street closures, but specifically with Third, I think the issue would be egress for emergency services with the RCMP access,” she added.

Following the question period, the public hearing ended with an opportunity for members of the public to make formal submissions, either in support or opposition, but none were made.

For more information about Castlegar’s new community plan and zoning bylaw, visit castlegar.ca.

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