Development held up on over booked land

A month has passed since the city stopped planning a 280-lot infill in Porter Creek, but there has been no word on the fate of the land selection…

A month has passed since the city stopped planning a 280-lot infill in Porter Creek, but there has been no word on the fate of the land selection from the Yukon government.

Development ceased in December when questions raised in the Yukon legislature showed the city’s subdivision plan overlapped land Education minister John Edzerza had promised Yukon College.

Further confusing the issue, Community Services minister Glenn Hart suggested creating a park in the same area.

Recently, the college floated a compromise, agreeing to cut the size of its long-promised endowment land.

Its new proposal asks for less land, some located within the original block promised as college endowment and some outside, said acting Yukon College board chair Clarence Timmins, who would not say how much land the college is asking for, or where exactly it’s located.

The college board of governors presented its new proposal to Education minister John Edzerza and Resources minister Archie Lang on December 20th.

The board is currently in negotiations with the government, said Timmins.

The thrice-booked 320 hectares sits between the main Yukon College campus and existing development in Porter Creek, bordered by Rabbit’s Foot Canyon on the west and Mountainview Drive on the east.

Yukon’s Community Services department has received the proposal and is reviewing it, said spokesperson Doug Caldwell on Tuesday.

It plans a series of public consultations on uses of the land, but no dates have been set.

Community Services cancelled a meeting with the city on the lands in mid-December and it has not rescheduled, said Bourassa.

Caretakers’ residences in industrial areas up for vote

This week, city staff advised council to let caretakers live where they work, a move industrial lot owners say is better for their businesses.

Under the old bylaw, a caretaker can live on a business site in an industrial area when it requires around-the-clock supervision, or it is in the public interest.

But in August, the law was thrown into question when Whitehorse denied five applications for caretaker facilities. Business owners, who planned to grow their businesses while raising a family on site, found their plans blocked.

City planning representatives advised council to remove the residential component altogether to avoid further confusion.

That wasn’t acceptable to business owners.

Local industrial areas would become “crime havens” without people living on site, said industrial lot owner Christine Doke, who came to a September council armed with a 579-signature petition and 23 letters from commercial property holders opposing the proposed changes.

So the city struck a task force, headed by realtor Dan Lang, to meet with local business owners and present recommendations to council.

Residences should be allowed, said Lang. But they must be better defined, so they do not cover more than 297 square metres, and existing businesses with attached residences should not be thrown into non-conforming status.

Council will vote on the task force recommendations next week.

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