Public hearing for Black Bear Drive rezoning draws vehement opposition from neighbours

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
November 14th, 2012

Two neighbours spoke strongly against Curtis Nichols’ application to rezone his property, 926 Black Bear, from R1 Residential to C2 Commercial Service at the public hearing on Monday.

The city has also received similar correspondence since details about the proposal were reported two weeks ago.

The image above is a zoning map of the “Gateway” area where the Cascade Highway intersects with the Paterson Highway, just west of the museum. Curtis Nichols’ property is currently zoned R1 (purple), but he would like it zoned C2 (black), like the Rossland Motel next door, so he can build a metalworking shop.


Also on the map: red is M1, Light Industrial. Striped green is RR1, Rural Residential, and striped yellow is RMH, Residential Mobile Home Park. Cross-hatched green is P2, Park.


City staff have advanced Nichols’ proposal on the grounds that the Official Community Plan (OCP) promotes “an expanding commercial sector within Rossland,” and the OCP calls on the city to “consider development of a ‘Light Industrial Business Park’ in the Old Cascade Highway area. The ultimate goal will be a comprehensively planned area of high aesthetic quality.”


The “Gateway Commercial” area identified in the OCP is one of the few areas in Rossland that has acceptable services, access, and topography to encourage commercial and light industrial development. The two automotive shops on 3rd Ave, east of the Emcon lot, are in the other prime commercial zone, city staff said.


Nevertheless, opposition from area residents was strong to the R1-to-C2 zone change.


Jennifer Gilhula, manager of the Rossland Motel, said, “I do not want to see the lot across from me zoned C2. A noisy, potentially smelly business next door to me will devastate my business.” 


“My guests enjoy the quiet of the motel, and a lot of my guests are workers who work shift work and need to sleep during the day. The noise from a machine shop or other industrial business next door [will mean that] I cannot retain those guests and that will hurt my business,” she continued.


“I currently have summer contracts with biking tours. They pick my motel because it’s quiet and relaxing and close to the bike trails. I feel I will lose those contracts if there is an industrial shop next door,” she said.


She also appealed to the broader community economy: “The guests at my motel spend money at the local shops, grocery store, and ski hill. They also return year after year and bring friends. Several have even bought homes, become permanent residents and started businesses. I ask that you do not allow the rezoning of this property.”


Earl Dawson, a resident of 950 Black Bear Drive for 46 years, said, “I feel that having that zoned as commercial, and what they plan to put in it, would definitely be a very deterrent factor where I live. It would definitely be a noise problem. I’m definitely against it.”


Richard Migneault, a resident on Monte Vista Drive on the west side of the motel, wrote to council about issues he felt were already caused by the M1 Light Industrial zone across the highway.


“We have a machine shop now in the old recycling building, and across the street a portable sawmill, both of which can be very noisy, with grinders, chainsaws, etc. Believe me, the noise carries across the highway more than one would think,” he wrote.


He continued, “Not too many years ago there was a timber frame construction business over there and, with the noise of chainsaws and routers echoing throughout the neighbourhood, it was more than annoying. Because of the noise we could not enjoy our outdoor patio, even being the distance we were away from this site.”


Curtis Nichols spoke in defence of his plan, “When I purchased this property three years ago, it was my intention from the beginning [to rezone] because it was a potential commercial area with light industrial across the street, and the motel also commercially zoned. I feel that there are not enough commercial properties in the area. I would like to see more businesses come to Rossland.”


“I am directly affected by it because my [residential] property is right beside it. I intend to live there,” he said, “but I don’t feel there’s a problem whoever the property owner is. They can take the right actions to make [the commercial property] as quiet as possible and good for the residents that are around there.”


Due to email server problems, council voted to postpone a vote on third reading of the zoning amendment bylaw until the next council meeting on Nov. 26 to ensure that all public correspondence is received prior to making the decision.

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