For the second time in two years, a developer looking to turn a 100 acre parcel of rural land in Lake Country into smaller lots for a proposed residential development has been turned away by Lake Country council.
Council voted against sending a proposal from Juniper Cove Developments to public hearing and denied a request to rezone the property along Juniper Cove Road to allow 31 rural residential lots.
A previous application to split the property into 168 lots was also turned down. At that time council requested the applicant come back with information on water and road improvements and a different proposal.
At its meeting on Sept. 5, council contemplated the new request, which was asking for the property to be split into 31 lots with at least $1.5 million in upgrades to the Coral Beach water utility, to be paid for by the developer.
“On one hand I appreciate what the applicant has done,” said Coun. Rob Geier. “He’s done everything we asked him to do. He’s gone from 160 lots to 30 which is a huge cut in his profit. The issue I have is I’d hate to see another scar on the side of the Carr’s Landing area where it’s developed lots that are sitting empty for 10 to 15 years before people can afford to buy them.”
Members of the Carr’s Landing community were on hand at the council meeting and spoke in opposition to the request for rezoning. Resident Cara Reed said she isn’t against development but the property in question is too far removed from the centre of Lake Country to be a good spot to develop.
“It should be appropriate development at the appropriate time and this is not the time for the development,” she said. “We have other developments underway. Let’s fill those and then review. It’s about meeting the needs of the community.”
Along with a proposed upgrade to the area’s water system, district staff informed council it could also require the developer to pay for costs of traffic upgrades to Juniper Cove Road and Carr’s Landing Road because of increased traffic that would result in the development.
Coun. Lisa Cameron said working with developers and making them pay for infrastructure improvements would be a big benefit to Lake Country, which can’t afford the necessary capital costs of the improvements.
“It appears residents are closing the gate because they are here now,” said Cameron. “I understand that. When I moved here it was very different. I think in terms of development this is the only way we, as council, can benefit the community in terms of infrastructure upgrades to roads and water. That is something residents should think about.”
In the end council voted against moving ahead to public hearing and shut the door on developing the property at this time. Efforts by the Lake Country Calendar to contact the developer for comment were unsuccessful.