The City of Qualicum Beach is still looking for a nonprofit to develop a low-cost housing project at 865 Ravensbourne Lane.

Council, at its regular meeting on September 28, voted unanimously to direct staff to proceed with the 2022 Expression of Interest application process that will publicly identify a nonprofit housing development partner for the property. owned by the city and that the rezoning for the property to be considered in an expedited process to the best extent of the city.

Before that, the con. Scott Harrison has made a notice of motion for staff to prepare for a rezoning of 865 Ravensbourne Lane to facilitate worker housing based on small clusters of residential units, essentially similar to R18 and using a streamlined rezoning process.

“R18 allows for tighter duplexes and pullbacks,” Harrison said. “And his intention is just to allow something that would do that, whether it’s tiny houses or quadruplexes, or whatever the nonprofit we’re working with wants to do, that gives them the flexibility to do so.”

Harrison said he wanted to follow the lead of the City of Victoria, where land has been pre-zoned to accommodate dedicated non-profit housing developers.

Existing agricultural zoning for the Ravensbourne Lane property allows only one residence, Harrison said, and rezoning would allow for more residences.

Harrison’s notice of motion did not pass, but the board approved the staff’s alternative recommendation.

“In this case it is possible to work with the developer to really understand what they would like to build on the site,” said planning director Luke Sale. “It’s clear the city has conveyed an interest in workforce housing for this site and it’s fabulous. It was in the requests for expressions of interest. That said, exactly how many units they want on that site, what the layout would be, it’s entirely variable at this point and drafting a zoning bylaw before the nonprofit has a chance to come up with something would mean which we would guess and potentially having to do a second rezoning later.

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