Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

This week at city hall

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its Oct. 11 meeting.

Airport zoning approved

Zoning is now in place for the Yukon government to move on to the next step in planning for a runway expansion at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.

At Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 11 meeting, members approved the final two readings of the bylaw for the rezoning, also including an amendment that would call for a meeting with the territorial government to discuss the plans. Part of that discussion would include the possibility of moving a portion of fence to improve the trail in the area.

The airport is currently operating the runway with an exemption, but it’s anticipated the larger runway will be needed for 737 traffic as passenger volumes return to pre-pandemic levels.

The plans would see the territory eventually purchase the land from the city with a portion of the airport trail rerouted, as well as a fence, roadway and manhole moved to make way for the runway.

During a public hearing, one resident came forward with a proposal that council explore the possibility of a land swap with the city, which would see the city provided with land that would allow it to improve the trail, while the territory would get the land it needs for the airport improvements.

While city staff explained land exchanges can take a significant amount of time and work, council members opted to go ahead with the zoning while also looking into meeting with the territorial government to discuss possibilities for the trail and other matters related to the area.

(Stephanie Waddell)

Garden suite proposed

A Porter Creek property owner hoping to convert their garage to a garden suite is closer to getting a zoning change to go ahead with the plans.

At Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 11 meeting, members passed first reading on the rezoning for 11 Oak St. The change would reduce the required rear yard setback to 0.9 metres rather than the three metres that would normally be in place for a garden suite.

As city planner Mathieu Marois explained, the detached garage is 0.9 metres from the property line.

With first reading passed, a public hearing will be held Nov. 14 with a report then coming to council Dec. 5 ahead of second and third reading on Dec. 12.

(Stephanie Waddell)

Development incentive approved

A developer in Whistle Bend will see the city cover the development cost charges for housing they are set to build at 76 Tyrell Cres.

At Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 11 meeting, council approved a city development incentive for the project that would add three buildings, with a total of 89 one and two-bedroom market units, to the corner lot at Tyrell Crescent and Casca Boulevard.

The density meets the requirements for a development incentive for comprehensive multiple family zones given the higher density of the project.

“In response to council’s strategic priorities on housing, this policy is meant to encourage smaller, denser housing forms in targeted areas,” land and building services manager Pat Ross stated in his report to council. “Under this policy, developments that meet the specified criteria are eligible for a reduction of development cost charges, a yearly monetary grant from the city, or both. The value of the grant would be based on the increase in taxation due to improvements on the property.”

In this case, the incentive will be in the form of a reduction to the development cost charges with the total value of the charges at $194,465 to be covered by the incentive.

(Stephanie Waddell)

Public hearings held

The Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (TKC) confirmed their commitment to creating more housing in the city during two public hearings held at Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 11 meeting.

The First Nation is seeking zoning amendments for two pieces of land currently zoned as future planning to allow for residential homes.

The largest of the sites is 2.1 hectares on Birch Street in Porter Creek. Plans there would see the development of 25 single family lots, with the proposed zoning to include a provision that adds mobile homes to the list of primary buildings for the lots. The site is part of a larger 4.35-hectare piece of settlement land with the rest of the TKC land there to remain as future development.

The other rezoning would see a one-hectare site on Witch Hazel Drive designated as comprehensive residential townhouse to allow 24 townhouses to be built there. The site is within a 20-hectare piece of TKC settlement land also zoned as future planning.

Chief Amanda Leas and Natalie Leclerc, the First Nation’s land use planning coordinator, highlighted the plans, noting the First Nation is pleased to move forward with bringing more affordable housing to the community.

She noted that while the priority for the First Nation is to its citizens, others may also benefit from the housing should the need for First Nation members be met.

While Leas was the only person to speak to council directly on the Whistle Bend rezoning, council also heard from two delegates opposed to the Porter Creek rezoning.

It was argued the plans for that area could result in a decrease in their property value, would substantially increase density in the area and they took issue with the possibility of rental housing, mobile homes and access through Birch Street.

Leas and Leclerc explained leases would be for the land, as opposed to the houses, as required on settlement land, and single family homes are planned for the properties. Access to the phased development is also not planned to go through the current residential section of Birch Street.

Public hearing reports for both properties are anticipated to come forward Oct. 24 with second and third readings set for Nov. 7.

(Stephanie Waddell)