Before making a decision, Rossland council wants to see how the community feels about a Happy Valley resident subdividing her property.
At the July 25 council meeting, council discussed Brenda Trenholme`s request for an amendment to the OCP bylaw to allow the subdivision of her 7.89 acres. She would like to sell her house, including a pool, gardens, barn and garage, and retain the adjacent five acres to build a smaller dwelling, sometime in the future.
She said she has no immediate plans to build but the land would simply remain a green space until then.
“The dwelling I propose would be compact and close to the road, on the existing natural high point, incurring as little as possible environmental impact,” she wrote.
“Services (water, power, gas, electricity and cable) already exist along the road. The house would be built with a modern approved septic system and would not require the city to provide sewer service.”
In return, she is offering the city’s use of the old cemetery access path which presently crosses her property.
“This would ensure that no matter who owns the land, the access to the cemetery would not be jeopardized.”
She would also like to dedicate a quarter acre plot of land to be used as a public, communal garden.
“This green belt along the south side of the cemetery road, in the northeast corner of my land is ideal for gardening as it is gently sloping, south facing, has beautiful soil and good drainage. There is a creek running by it for water.”
The community garden and the fruit from about 30 fruit trees would be donated to Rossland REAL Food, and the neighbours would be welcome to allow their livestock to graze on her pasture land as they have done for the past 20 years.
Trenholme has already allowed the lower periphery of her property to be used by the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society to develop the trail network for hikers, bikers and skiers.
“With my proposal to dedicate this trail to the city, this trail is protected for public use in perpetuity. This fits with the aspirations of the Rossland Historical Society who are keen to see this historical route to our beautiful cemetery and trails preserved now and protected into the future.
Neighbours Elizabeth and Frank Fowler sent an accompanying letter indicating their willingness to support Trenholme’s request and add a small triangle of their property crossed by the cemetery road to the city.
Councillor Kathy Moore wondered why Trenholme couldn`t be allowed to separate the property with a condition that it must be left as pasture.
“She could rent it out,” Moore said.
Corporate administrator Victor Kumar said Trenholme can already do that.
People who subdivide with that provision can then apply for a building permit, he explained.
“This (rezoning) is the first step.”
Moore and councillors Kathy Wallace both wanted to give Trenholme the chance to survey her neighbours, but Mayor Greg Granstrom worried that such a zoning change would set a huge precedent.
“This could be a major OCP zoning phase,” he said.
Councillor Laurie Charleton agreed.
“This will lead to additional applications from other land owners,” he said. “We’ve had applications and we’ve said ‘no, stick to the OCP.’ I don’t think we should turn around and entertain anything else.”
Charleton was also not impressed with making space for a community garden and said the road is a public road already dating back over a century.
“If we allow a subdivision like this to go ahead, how many in the future? Then we’d have to supply a second access, sewer services.
“Save the effort and concern and say ‘no’ now.”
Granstrom said it would be unfair not to allow Trenholme the chance to solicit neighbours.
“If she want to proceed knowing all that, we can’t deny her the chance to try,” Granstrom said. “But we will inform her of the OCP and zoning bylaws and give her the opportunity to organize public meetings.”