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LETTER: A lack of information is not the issue
Re: “Developers to Provide More Public Info” (The Nelson Star March 5 edition).
More information in not the issue. The developer says that if the public had more information there would not be this confusion. And while I generally support development, trying to put such a large eight-plex into a small space is the issue because it requires an amazing package of variances never seen before in Nelson.
Speaking for many that I know, we do not want more information from the developer, we want a dialogue with the councillors, the decision makers. To have two daytime info meetings on the same day that the decision will be made is not the dialogue we want. We would like to discuss the rationale that is used to support these variances and have a back and forth conversation about the values that underlie them.
Frankly speaking, the process and schedule set out feels more like buying time and covering behinds.
The city needs to help us understand why they support a .5 metre front setback from the street rather then the usual 4.5 metre setback.
After a multi-year review of all the bylaws, the new setback is still 4.5, (same as the old bylaw) for good reasons, primarily safety while backing into the street, and better appearance.
The developer wants to put a large building into a small space and needs to squeeze it closer to the street to make it fit, hence the drastically reduced setback request. Is this to become the city’s new standard? If not, why for this development on our lake front?
Narrowing the road to seven metres might be good; less pavement. But why can’t a sidewalk be put in when the whole of the road right of way is 12-metres leaving five metres? A sidewalk is only 1.5 metres.
And for the developer to say that they plan to put in a dedicated path for bikes and pedestrians on the other side of the road — he means on CPR land. Yet no such permission has been given by CPR nor has such even been applied for. Such permission is unlikely to be granted by CPR. If this dedicated pathway is in lieu of the sidewalk, then the city should insist that the developer obtain such permission in advance of approving a variance for no sidewalks.
The ‘city’ says they will not allow any parking on this narrower street. This sounds good and is nice to visualize. So, where will any visitor or service vehicle park?
The developer says that one blogger has said they are trying to pave paradise. Take a good look at their drawings. The whole front of the complex is eight driveways into eight garages, four of which are to be within three metres of the paving. There are no front or back yards to speak of and very little green that will be seen while walking, biking or driving past.
The bigger picture is eight or nine more of these buildings gradually being built down this street on Nelson’s waterfront, plus some three storey buildings further down this street on the CPR side of this street.
First, get the permission needed from CPR for this path he says will be developed as an alternative to at least one sidewalk, or require one sidewalk into that spare five metre space.
Maybe grant the very unusual tiny front setback but at least demand that the developer put in carports not the garages as shown to provide the visibility needed when backing into the street.
Finally, figure out something for off site visitor and commercial parking that is realistic and not an unenforceable pipe dream before a decision is taken.
This whole package of variances should concern everyone in Nelson, not just those who live down there. Please contact the councilors and show up at the March 17 meeting(s) and let’s hope for some real dialogue.
Thanks for thinking about this situation on our waterfront.