Whistler is moving toward rezoning all undeveloped RR1 lands, and those RR1 lands with single family houses on them, to limit the development possibilities to single family houses.
The move, which was initiated last fall and will be the subject of a public open house in the near future, is designed to close loopholes and provide more certainty in planning as Whistler closes in on its self-imposed development cap. It also provides greater environmental protection.
Under the existing Rural Resource One zoning a number of uses are permitted in addition to a single family house. Those include an indoor recreation facility of up to 21,500 square feet; outdoor recreation which could mean a golf course, amusement rides or a go-cart track; and cemeteries. As well, the current RR1 zoning has no limit on the number of principal uses allowed, nor any restrictions on the number of auxiliary buildings permitted.
It is under the current permitted uses of the RR1 zoning that the Kerfoot home and private ice rink on Alpha Lake were allowed to go ahead. Last year, Whistler council deleted "hostels" as a permitted use on RR1 lands, after the Edgewater Lodge was built as a hostel.
The proposed move would see all undeveloped RR1 lands and those with single family houses on them, rezoned to a new Residential Single Estate One (RS-E1) designation. All lands under the RS-E1 zoning would also be designated development permit areas, subject to guidelines for the protection of the natural environment and biological diversity.
Specifically, the proposed guidelines include: placing buildings and structures on portions of the site that are not environmentally sensitive to development; as far as practicable, there should be no net loss of natural areas as development occurs; wherever possible, large tracts of wildlife habitat or corridors should be preserved; provincial streamside protection regulations should be followed; and the municipality may require vegetation or tree-preservation zones be established in order to control erosion and protect wildlife habitat and biodiversity.
The proposed changes will not affect RR1 properties, such as the London Mountain Lodge, which are already at third reading in the rezoning process.