It’s back to the drawing board for the Cooke Street development.
What is proving to be a controversial development is also complicated, as city council has taken public concerns over density, design, safety and if the development would be completed to another forum, they decided Monday night during their regular council meeting.
Although the date of the next hearing has not been set, the 24-unit development slated for the old Cooke Avenue school site will be revealed in greater detail, quelling or assuaging any and all concerns over the proposed development through a public forum and council debate.
Over 40 people turned up in city council chambers Sept. 23 for the last public meeting on the development.
Prior to the meeting Monday during public time, four people rose to speak to council to ask them to reconsider the development and how it fit into the lower Rossland neighbourhood.
“I feel that before any decision is made, the public deserves another public hearing to see what stage this development is at,” said one man.
His wish came true.
The first motion to direct city staff on the changes council wished to see inherent in the development was defeated, favouring a second motion instead to engage in a “conversation” to bring forward the issues of the community with regard to the project.
That conversation would take the form of a committee of the whole meeting in which the public concerns—compiled by city staff from the Sept. 23 meeting—would be debated, with a list recommendations then being forwarded to staff.
“We appreciate the concern of the neighbourhood and we take seriously the input we have received, but the development as I see it will occur and should occur as a benefit to Rossland and the neighbours and everyone concerned,” said councilor Jill Spearn.
However, she also said that council’s wish list would only be suggestions to the developer, since he ultimately owns the land, was proposing a development within the bounds of the Official Community Plan with regards to density, height, traffic and other considerations.
But the city must change the zoning of the property for developer Cezary Ksiazek on the former school site to allow it to go from P1, public institutional to CD 6, mixed residential.
If council does not pass a rezoning for the site—a denial of the proposal—it would mean the developer must wait another six months before re-applying.
Ksiazek has been trying to develop the former Cooke Avenue school site since it was purchased by a trio of local investors in early 2011.
The current rezone application first came to light in September, 2011, but it wasn’t until Dec. 10, 2012 that a public hearing was held on the project.
The development is slated for two large lots to allow mixed residential on what is public institutional, building 24 townhouse units in the form of six, four-unit homes facing Thompson Avenue and Cooke Avenue.
Each unit will include three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a single or double car garage. The total living space will be approximately 2,000 square feet and at $150 per square foot, including land cost, it is the lowest possible price, said Ksiacek.
Ksiazek has conducted a preliminary review of servicing requirements for the site—a full city block—and is proposing the multiple-family dwellings within the one-block span on the former Cooke Avenue school site now zoned public institutional.