An exception for Karwood

By Mark Squibb / September 1, 2023

Last month, Paradise council agreed, by way of an e-mail poll, to issue permits for five building lots despite the lots not meeting Town standards.

Council voted to ratify that approval during a public meeting on August 15.

Deputy Mayor Kimberley Street noted the Town issued Karwood Development an 11-lot development approval in May 2022. Six of those lots front on complete sections of nearby Silver Birch Crescent and Saffron Street and are able to be developed as standard infill lots. The remaining five lots, located on Silver Birch Crescent, need to meet the Town policy that requires the development area be at substantial completion prior to the building permits being issued.

Karwood, however, had requested permits prior to substantial completion, and indicated that paving is scheduled to be completed within the coming weeks.

Street noted a few circumstances marked this as a special case. For one, underground infrastructure is already in place and approved by the Town as part of the Market Ridge Phase 1 development of the same area. There is also a curb installed along the north side of the street, and housing development is already underway directly across the street.

“Planning and Protective Services committee considered the request and have concluded that the five lots are a special case that warrant special consideration outside of policy,” said Street. “The committee recommends approving the request subject to five conditions.”

Street said the committee agreed council should conduct an e-mail poll to “expedite the approval for the developer.” That e-mail poll was conducted on August 4, with five members of council voting in favour of the motion to allow permits to be issued for the five lots and two members voting against.

The two councillors opposed to the motion were Larry Vaters and Patrick Martin.

Vaters said he voted ‘No,’ because, as Street had noted, the five lots did not meet the Town policy regarding substantial completion prior to the permits being issued.

Vaters noted the requirement was outlined in the Market Ridge development agreement between the Town and the developer.

“In other words, all parties knew of the requirement in advance,” summarised Vaters.

Martin worried that by approving the motion, council could be setting a precedent.

“The developer does not meet substantial completion (requirements) as councillor Vaters just alluded to,” said Martin. “Development approval was issued for the lots in May of 2022, and the developer was fully aware of what was required to get the building permits in place. Allowing the developer to proceed is going directly against our policy for development, and I feel it could be setting a precedent for future development.”

Councillor Glen Carew, who voted in favour of the motion, said the committee had a fairly detailed conversation on the matter, and he allowed that while approving the motion would go against Town policy, there were extenuating circumstances.

“Part of the curb for the road is in place, and infrastructure is in place,” said Carew. “These lots already met the development criteria and will be developed as part of the development agreement for that area. And from the discussion we had with the director and with committee members, the policy is in place to ensure that developers don’t come in and try and put basements in where there is no infrastructure in the road itself, causing some challenges for surveys.”

He added that expediting the approval through an e-mail poll may allow residents to move into their homes before Christmas.

Deputy Mayor Street added the Town has put conditions in place to ensure things run smoothly, and that council has approved work outside Town policy in other instances when extenuating circumstances have called for it.

Council approved the results of the e-mail poll, though Vaters and Martin remained firmly opposed to the motion.

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