Pinewood Development Draws Attention

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
October 30th, 2008

If you’ve been following the comments in the Telegraph over the past couple of weeks, you’ve likely noticed a large and at times heated discussion around the plans for the Evergreen Ridge development next to Pinewood in the southeast corner of Rossland.

The development proposal in question encompasses 18.7 acres, located adjacent to the Pinewood subdivision bordered by Highway 3B to the south-east, the Mountain View Cemetery to the east and Happy Valley to the north. Currently the developers are conducting due diligence for the project and have submitted a development application to the City of Rossland to build 21 homes on the property.

“Rossland needs more young families, permanent residents and moderately priced housing,” writes developer Dean Bulfone in an information sheet on the project. “All of our community seems to agree on this and it has been intensely discussed at all of the many community meetings that I have attended over the last few years. I believe that our proposed project will help provide one solution to filling those needs.”

Plans for the project are to create a family neighbourhood for permanent residents that will be affordable and attractive to younger families.

“We are trying to create a positive housing solution for families and permanent residents of Rossland that will help sustain our schools and help maintain our vibrant community.” noted Bulfone.

Having grown up in the area, Dean and his brother Robert, who are working on the project together, are both avid outdoor enthusiasts and both plan to build homes in the new development and raise their families there.

Consisting of single family homes, the developers plan to incorporate green building practices such as small efficient lots, footprints, and designs into the proposed subdivision. The current plans also include creating new trails on the site to replace the current trail which runs through the site of the first phase.

In the past two weeks, the existing trail running from the corner of Cedar Crescent and Balsam Avenue through to Happy Valley was closed . This grabbed the attention of some trail users and residents of the area. The trail was closed by the developer after acts of vandalism affected the survey work which was done on the site. This vandalism is currently under investigation by the RCMP.

In a letter to the editor of the Telegraph last week, Rachel Brandvold aired her concerns about the development. Among other issues, she is worried about the potential loss of trails and trees on the site.

“As of this moment we stand to lose some very large and precious old trees which will increase our carbon footprint and decrease the natural beauty of Rossland…The developer also has a timber mark that enables him to log the property first, thereby circumventing his subdivision application of approval and the tree retention bylaw.” wrote Brandvold.

The tree retention bylaw mentioned by Brandvold has just come into legislation as of October 27th and therefore will not be applicable to the first phase of the development application, which was submitted to city staff before the bylaw came into effect.

Thus far, Bulfone states, he has been voluntarily working in accordance to the bylaw. Any future phases of development on the property will be subject to the new bylaw designed to protect and preserve the trees around town. The new bylaw will be applied to any piece of land within city limits that is larger than 600 square meters. The tree retention bylaw also states that no trees shall be removed within 10 meters of a highway. As well as no trees may be removed within 5 metres of the perimeter of a parcel.

“What [the bylaw] does is provide the city some assurances of ecological protection for habitat, particularly in areas where there is not a development permit,” notes city planner Mike Maturo. “It also provides for some aesthetic values. They have to identify trees with diameters greater than 20 cm and they have to come up with a plan if they need to log, but they also have to do retention. They have to show what they are going to retain and what they are going to cut and then they have to have a replanting scheme.”

The project is currently in the PLR or Preliminary Layout Review stage which outlines 27 requirements by the City of Rossland which must be completed before approval of the subdivision plan will be considered. Among these conditions are a parkland dedication of a portion of the property as well as a dedication of trails and walkways for public connectivity within the development.

The parkland dedication for the site requires 5% of the 18.7 acre property to be set aside in a contiguous form that is acceptable to the approving officer. This would require .935 acres or 40,597 square feet of the property to be set aside as parkland, providing a significant amenity to the area as the Pinewood subdivision currently does not have a park. This could come in the form of a swath of land roughly 100 ft wide by 400 feet long, for example. This parkland area is in addition to the trails required by the PLR, which required the dedication of trails and walkways for public connectivity within the development in lieu of sidewalks and all cul-de-sac bulbs to provide pedestrian access to points beyond.

In order to protect and potentially enhance the trail system in the area, Bulfone has been working with the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society on planning a network of hiking and biking trails on and around the property, and he has gained the support of the society. The proposed trail alignment descends from the intersection of Spruce and Maple streets heading north-east onto the Mountain View Cemetery property, then continues north onto the Old Rossland Cemetery property where it would connect to a spur trail off the official Cemetery trail.

“In the course of several meetings and a joint site inspection we have considered several possibilities, but have prioritized the creation of a dedicated trail corridor through the Evergreen Ridge development property and the construction of a significant new public trail,” writes Stewart Spooner in a letter to the developers. “We believe this proposed trail will both enhance the Evergreen Ridge development and provide a new and improved trail experience for existing local residents.”

While no public hearing is necessary on the project unless a rezoning application is submitted, citizens are welcome to submit letters to city staff voicing their opinions on the project.

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