The year 2022 could see some big changes for a Range Road property.
Whitehorse city council passed first reading of the rezoning bylaw for 115 Range Road at its Nov. 29 meeting, prompting a public hearing set for Jan. 17.
The bylaw would see the former home of Trans North Helicopters zoned for highway commercial use rather than its current airport use.
Trans North has moved from the site and is leasing helipads at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.
As city planner Karmen Whitbread explained in an earlier report to council, the property can no longer be used as a helipad.
“NAV Canada has confirmed that the subject site no longer meets the requirements for an H2 or H3 helipad, which are typically used for tour and other smaller helicopter uses,” he said. “NAV Canada also stated the area is too congested with existing businesses to be a suitable location for a busy helipad, as they would be exposed to noise and hazards. Therefore, the location is no longer desirable as a helipad due to the changing context of the area.”
A number of new buildings have been constructed in the area in recent years, including the city’s operations building next door.
In his report to council, Whitbread said the property is designated in the current Official Community Plan (OCP) for industrial/commercial uses. The proposed highway commercial zoning would align with the designation.
The city is also in the midst of updating the OCP with an emerging directions document, published from the work done thus far. It includes a proposal that would encourage development of under-used land in the area.
“The proposed rezoning would facilitate intensification of the site by providing for more flexible and intensive land uses,” Whitbread said.
The current airport zoning is “highly restrictive to airport and aircraft sales and service uses.”
Also cited in the report was a 2020 commercial industrial land study identifying a need for another 32 hectares of mixed-use commercial/industrial land in the city by 2040 and recommending intensifying commercial/industrial sites.
“The proposed CH – Highway Commercial – zone permits a range of commercial uses primarily along arterial roadways,” Whitbread said. “Therefore the proposed CH – Highway Commercial – zone fits with the context of the surrounding uses, zones, and adjacent highway and will allow for intensification of this highway commercial area.”
Whitbread described the airport zoning as “outdated”, given that the property can no longer be used as a helipad.
Following the public hearing Jan. 17, a report on the input received will come forward Feb. 7 before council votes on second and third reading Feb. 14.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org