Developer Randy Audette, who recently purchased 11 Tarahne Way in Whistle Bend, speaks to city council about a possible zoning amendment on May 28. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Whitehorse developer demands Whistle Bend zoning change

City administration is strongly opposed to a zoning amendment for a lot in Whistle Bend, council learned at the standing committees meeting May 28.

Developer Randy Audette recently purchased 11 Tarahne Way in Whistle Bend. The lot is zoned RCM2, which calls for apartment-style housing with a minimum density of 50 units per hectare. The lot is one hectare.

Audette appeared in front of council to request an amendment to RCM1, which would allow him to build a townhouse development at a density of 36 to 40 units per hectare.

Coun. Samson Hartland asked Melodie Simard, manager of planning and sustainability services with the city of Whitehorse, why administration is so against the change.

“There’s a couple of components,” said Simard. “Through its application, the applicant did not provide any information on how he would achieve the 40 units and based on past development in Whistle Bend, it’s been much lower than 40 units per hectare so we could be looking as low as 25 to 35 units.”

“You could potentially be looking at half.”

She also said the lot is located close to transit, and that, if the city wants to see a healthy ridership, it needs population.

Audette told council that, since purchasing the land two months ago, he has had conversations with real estate agents about the demand for apartments in Whistle Bend.

He said he’s been told renters want the convenience of being located close to commercial spaces including grocery stores and restaurants. He said that, until Whistle Bend has that, he doesn’t see demand increasing.

Audette said that if the property is re-zoned, he could begin building immediately. Otherwise, he said he’ll have to wait, possibly years, for commercial properties to be built up in the area. He also said he will have to lay off his staff, which will also affect his suppliers.

Council had a number of questions, including whether the site is close to an area slated for future commercial development and whether different zoning would have affected the price Audette paid for the lot.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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