"Rossland Gateway" property applies for commercial zoning to build a metal shop

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
October 24th, 2012

Council has advanced Curtis Nichols’ application to rezone his property at 926 Black Bear Drive—opposite the junction of Highway 22 and the Cascade Highway—from R1 Residential to C2 Commercial Service, and a public hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 12.

Nichols plans to subdivide his lot, keeping the southern portion residential, and “the commercial part will likely have a metal fabrication business,” he wrote to council.


The property to the west of 926 Black Bear Drive is zoned C2 Commercial Service. The properties across the highway to the north are zoned M1 Light Industrial.


The zoning amendment bylaw, No. 2539, is supported by the Official Community Plan (OCP), staff wrote to council. “The OCP designates this area as proposed Gateway Commercial,” they wrote, “and policies for this area encourage commercial development that enhances the sense of arrival in Rossland.”


All uses in this area are subject to “Gateway Commercial Development Permit Area Guidelines,” and Section 20 of the OCP states that developments there “shall consider the highly visible nature of the location and may be required to provide landscaping and screening as necessary to maintain the highway corridor to a high standard.” 


Staff’s recommendation to council included a provision to “ensure that adequate screening and landscaping will be provided,” for example “to screen storage areas.” In this case, staff wrote, the change would have “no negative impact on the neighbourhood.”


Benefits to the change include advancing the community economic development goals of the Strategic Sustainability Plan (SSP) “to build a sustainable and diversified economy,” and of the OCP to “support value-added products made in Rossland.”


Although council carried the motion, there was some debate about whether a metal fabrication shop was appropriate for the Gateway. 


Coun. Kathy Moore said she supported the idea, “but Gateway Commercial” makes me think of something really attractive when you drive into town. If this ends up being a metal fabrication shop, I really hope we get some cooperation for some nice landscaping.”


Coun. Kathy Wallace also supported the motion because of the potential for increased tax revenue, economic diversification, and its alignment with the OCP.


Coun. Tim Thatcher was “curious” about the C2 designation. “Wouldn’t Light Industrial be a more appropriate title for that?” he asked.


City Planner Mike Maturo responded that the C2 Commercial zone has a “broad mix” of uses, and that there is a “fair amount of overlap” with the M1 Light Industrial zone.


Permitted uses within C2 include service commercial use, entertainment commercial use, recreation facilities, neighbourhood oriented commercial use, hotel, motel, and hostel.


Specifically, the C2 zone permits non-retail uses that may require outdoor storage or activity areas, in addition to retail uses “limited to” automobile sales and repairs, car washes, supply outlets, business support services, schools, clubs and lodges, construction and trades, delivery terminals, fruit and vegetable stands, gas stations, glass sales, fitness clubs, household repairs, light machinery sales, mortuaries, nurseries, plumbing shops, public parking, restaurants, retail outlets, sheet metal shops, equipment rentals, storage yards, light assembly operations, small warehouses and distribution, theatres, pool halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, racquet sport facilities, small grocery stores, and vet clinics.


Coun. Jody Blomme asked, “Should it be that Curtis wants to [make a metal fabrication shop], will the near neighbours have a chance to talk about it? I’m concerned because there’s a motel adjacent to this lot, as well as a campground on the other side. People need to be able to sleep in, and metal fabrication isn’t always a quiet thing.”


Maturo responded, “There are several permitted uses within the C2 zone. In a situation where the zone is applied to the property, any number of uses can occur there after the zoning. Within this zone there’s a 500 square metre subdivision possibility. This property could in fact feature another lot, if they chose to do that later on. The uses aren’t going to be locked into the [metal shop.]”


“At the public hearing,” he continued, “the public can come and speak, including the property owner. But once the property’s zoned, it’s up to the owner how to rent or use that property.”


Coun. Jill Spearn said, “Gateway Commercial? I don’t know, but I think of motels and shops. This seemed to me to be more industrial, and it’s probably better off across the street in the other area. Just from experience seeing those kind of sights before, they’re not a tourism welcoming kind of business.”


Mayor Greg Granstrom asked, “Is there another designation, another zoning, that would get rid of the ‘industrial’ overtones?”


Maturo responded that there isn’t such a zone, noting that C2 was chosen to be consistent with other properties on that side of the road.


CAO Cecile Arnott clarified that the public hearing on Nov. 12 “allows the city an opportunity to hear from the adjacent owners and the general public.”


Despite some reservations, council voted in favour of the motion. Public participation is encouraged at the hearing at City Hall prior to the Nov. 12 regular council meeting.

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