A Special Meeting was held on Aug. 8 so that Port McNeill council could review two rezoning applications and assess two funding applications with deadlines that would expire prior to the next regular Council meeting.
The first rezoning application was to amend the zoning at 2651 Mine Rd. The applicant, Furney Distributing, was asking council to rezone the property from A-1 Rural Zone to C-2 Commercial Zone 2, for the purpose of allowing the property to be used for van and trailer rentals.
The requested rezoning would allow (in addition to vehicle rentals), for a broad range of businesses, including as Coun. Derek Koel pointed out, a strip mall and fast food restaurants, which, according to Koel, were not permitted under the current Official Community Plan (OCP).Koel, along with Coun. Ann-Marie Baron and Coun. Shelley Downey, also noted the applicant, having already located their business there, was operating contrary to the location’s current zoning regulations.
After further discussion, council voted to table the zoning request, send the application to the Advisory Planning Committee (APC) and seek clarification from the applicant about their current non-conforming use of the property.
The second rezoning application was for a property located at 1836 Beach Drive, with the applicant, General Properties Ltd, looking for a change in zoning that would allow for a 4-plex instead of the current maximum of two family units. Council noted that the conversion to a four family unit had been underway without full permitting, was not allowed under current zoning and a Cease Work Order had been issued by the building inspector. Council had many concerns including: The resulting lack of public consultation, the effects this might have for nearby residents and the consequences this zoning change request would have on all residential properties in the town.Mayor Gaby Wickstrom acknowledged that council is very aware of the chronic shortage of rental units and didn’t want to discourage applicants from applying. However, she felt it was necessary and important that council find ways to work with people to remedy the situation but within the framework of the OCP and current by-laws. Council unanimously agreed to send the rezoning application to the APC without an opinion from council. In the meantime, the Cease Work Order will remain in place.
In other council news, the Regional District of Mount Waddington is submitting an application to the BC Rural Dividend Fund, seeking $100,000 in support of the North Island Training and Attraction Project.
The district was asking Port McNeill for a total contribution of $10,000; spread over two years, to support the hiring of a part-time coordinator for this apprenticeship-training program. Their request was approved.
Community Futures of Mount Waddington presented a plan to council that would assist the town in moving forward with its Downtown Improvement Plan.
With the help of Community Futures, Port McNeill has applied to the Island Coastal Economic Trust and BC Rural Dividend Grant for funding that would allow for an assessment of the Port McNeill downtown area and the development of a comprehensive action plan.
Total cost for the project would be $35,000 and council was asked, and agreed, to contribute up to $5000 for this economic development project.
– Bill McQuarrie article