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Rezoning of B.C. Rail lands wins third reading

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With no comments, other than one question about a covenant, more than two years of planning for the 500-plus acre B.C. Rail lands paid off Monday as a rezoning application for the lands received third reading from council.

Although council has still to adopt the rezoning bylaws, local developers Bill Kunzweiler and Duane Jackson are now allowed to start work on the road that will bisect the property on the west side of Alta Lake.

The rezoning permits 29 estate lots on the property and dedicates nearly 100 acres for protection as park land. The lots vary in size but include specific building envelopes and tree protection covenants, so that the houses are unobtrusive and fit into the landscape. In total, more than 300 acres of the whole site will be preserved in its present state.

Houses will range in size from as small as 2,500 square feet to 7,500 square feet – plus an employee or caretaker suite of up to 1,200 square feet. However, the total square footage allowed on the whole property would be limited to 145,145 square feet, an average of 5,005 square feet per house.

It is also intended that green building initiatives be part of each house.

Five "extra" lots are also part of the rezoning. The extra lots are offered by the developers to be utilized for a community benefit, contributing to employee housing and/or environmental initiatives. It is expected the five lots will be used to help finance Tim Regan’s employee housing proposal.

The land, as subdivided by B.C. Rail in 1999, allowed 24 20-acre lots and five smaller lots. However, the design and layout of the subdivision required extensive cut-and-fill sections in order for the road to access all the estate lots. The rezoning allows for an improved, less obtrusive road design and more efficient lot layout.

Kunzweiler and Jackson have done extensive research and planning for the property over the last couple of years. Wildlife migratory routes, forest and vegetation cover, old logging roads and topography were all studied and fed into computer-animated models that formed part of the rezoning application.

The proposal was the subject of a public hearing Monday, where there was only one question about a covenant. Two earlier open houses on the project drew a total of 12 members of the public.

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