The proposed 7.3-hectare section of land at the former tank farm site to be designated for industrial/commercial use. City planning manager Mélodie Simard highlighted issues from a report during city council Sept. 8 that came forward during an August public hearing for the possible changes. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Council contemplates tank farm OCP change

Public hearing report comes forward

Altering the Official Community Plan (OCP) designation of a 7.3-hectare piece of land inside the former tank farm site for commercial/industrial use would be the first of many steps before any such development could happen there.

That reminder was issued as part of a public hearing report on the OCP change brought forward to Whitehorse city council at its Sept. 8 meeting.

The report, presented by planning manager Mélodie Simard, highlighted a long list of issues that came forward during the public hearing held in August for the OCP amendment that would change the designation of the land from residential to commercial/industrial uses.

Along with the land designation, the OCP change would also establish the area as a direct control district, giving the city more direct control over land and buildings in the area.

During the public hearing, both support and opposition were expressed for the changes.

Among the submissions in favour was a document containing approximately 450 names of people stating their support for the plan, highlighting the need for commercial properties in the city and pointing out that it will be nearby commercial/industrial land already existing on Wasson Place.

Those arguing against the change maintained the site should be used for residential use as industrial/commercial uses would not fit with the nearby neighbourhoods and would impact residents of those neighbourhoods.

Noise and pollution were also cited as a major concern among those opposing the OCP change with some highlighting the city’s logo as a wilderness city.

In her report, Simard noted each of the concerns with a response for each.

Responding to concerns around noise, for example, she pointed out that the project proponents have stated the noise level would be similar to that of past remediation and hauling work that was done in the area.

Simard also pointed out if a residential development went ahead under the current designation, “both infrastructure development and housing construction could create significantly more noise disturbance than is currently occurring on the site.”

The report also noted the land is next to commercial/industrial developments on Burns Road and Wasson Place and cited the required buffer between industrial and residential areas. The buffer between the site and future residential areas would be between 30 and 100 metres, while the buffer from the site to the Hillcrest neighbourhood would be 120 m.

“Under a Mixed-Use — Industrial/Commercial designation, the developer would be required to demonstrate proposed subdivision design and final site conditions prior to any grading work,” Simard said.

As she said in concluding the report, the OCP represents just the first step of many before any development can happen on the property.

“The OCP is a high-level document that guides future decisions,” she said. “As such, the amendment is considering if this land designation change from Residential – Urban to Mixed-Use – Industrial/Commercial is appropriate given the surrounding land uses. If council agrees that commercial/industrial type uses are acceptable in this location, the details of how this is achieved could be implemented through a zoning bylaw amendment, as well as a development agreement registered through subdivision approval.”

Questioned by councillors Steve Roddick and Laura Cabott about specifics on the maximum time it could take to do grading work and potential trail connections, Simard emphasized those details could be addressed through zoning and development agreements.

The report stated that a number of regulations could be drafted to address concerns raised through the public hearing.

Among those could be regulations on the amount of material being relocated or restricting material from being hauled off-site; limiting on-site processing of material; regulated hours of operation; and restricting uses allowed in the proposed Mixed-Use – Industrial/Commercial area to match restrictions currently applied in the Wasson Place/Burns Road area.

Council will vote on the second reading of the OCP amendment at its next meeting on Sept. 14.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

RezoningWhitehorse city council

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