The Comox Valley Regional District has changed the parameters of a vote cast at a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday night, in regards to 3L Development’s proposal of a minor amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy, surrounding the Stotan Falls residential development.
At the July 17 committee of the whole meeting, a vote was held to consider a minor amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy.
The changes being requested by 3L surround adding a new settlement node in the RGS, in the Stotan Falls area, which would pave the way for the company’s proposed residential project.
The board voted 5-3 in favour of the recommendation, at which point James Warren, general manager of corporate services for the CVRD, declared the motion defeated, stating a supermajority of 2/3 was needed.
The resulting defeat meant any changes to the RGS would fall under the “standard amendment” umbrella – a much more involved process.
3L representatives refused interview requests after the meeting.
On July 18, when transcribing the minutes, the staff determined that the supermajority rule imposed at the committee of the whole meeting was not applicable, and reversed the decision, effectively carrying a motion that was publicly announced as being defeated at the meeting.
(The Comox Valley Record covered the meeting, and filed a report based on the Warren’s declaration at the meeting. The decision to change the voting parameters was made after The Record went to press.)
Warren sent out a statement late Wednesday afternoon, confirming the change.
The following is the email received by The Record, at 3:51 p.m. Wednesday, July 18 – nearly 24 hours after the committee of the whole meeting:
“In preparing the minutes for yesterday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Regional District staff considered the issue of whether the Committee’s vote on the process for proceeding with the amendment to the RGS proposed by 3L Development required a two-thirds majority or a simple majority vote for the Committee to recommend to the Board that it proceed as a minor amendment. Having reviewed the Regional District’s Procedure Bylaw, the RGS, and the applicable statutes, staff are of the view that there is an arguable issue as to the required vote. In the circumstances, and as the RGS makes clear that the determination of whether an amendment is a minor amendment must be made by the Board, staff have concluded that it is fair and reasonable to resolve the issue in favour of the applicant and have prepared the Minutes to reflect that the motion to proceed with the amendment as a minor amendment was carried on a simple majority vote of 5 to 3. By doing so, the matter will properly be on the agenda for the upcoming Board meeting and the Board will be in a position to fulfill its duty to determine, if the amendment is initiated, on a two-thirds majority basis whether the amendment will proceed as a minor amendment or, in default, as a standard amendment.”
In a follow-up interview, Warren said there is a statement in the meeting minutes, reflecting the change from the announcement at the meeting itself.
“There is a statement underneath the motion… that clarifies that the above resolution was deemed to be a simple majority was all that was required, despite the announcement at the meeting that it was a supermajority, needing two-thirds vote,” he said.
Warren also said the decision to originally apply the supermajority requirement was his.
“The decision to apply the 2/3 majority vote was mine and comes from the Regional Growth Strategy requirement to have the board resolve by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present to process an RGS application as a minor amendment.”
The board will now consider the recommendation at the July 24 meeting. It is not yet clear as to whether any motion brought to the floor at Tuesday’s meeting regarding this matter will face a supermajority requirement for assention.