Commercial and industrial development of the former tank farm site could soon be a reality.
At Whitehorse city council’s July 5 meeting, city planner Sidharth Agarwal brought forward a recommendation for the rezoning that would designate the site between Hamilton Boulevard and Valleyview/Hillcrest as a direct control district (giving the city more control over what happens there) and allow commercial/industrial development on the 7.3 hectare Phase 1 portion that sits behind Wasson Place in Hillcrest.
While Phase 1 would see the commercial/industrial site developed, most of the tank farm area is planned for residential use.
A tank farm is an area where patroleum is stored.
The Official Community Plan designation for Phase 1 was approved in December with the zoning now coming forward.
“The applicant, acting on behalf of the owner of the tank farm site, has applied to amend the zoning bylaw to allow for the development of industrial/commercial lots on the Phase 1 portion of the tank farm site,” Agarwal stated, pointing to two options put forward for Phase 1.
One option would see the commercial/industrial lots built in Phase 1 with a 30 metre sloped buffer on the western edge of the site to provide space between the industrial area and future residential sites.
The other option, which Agarwal said is preferred, would see the owners purchase a portion of the city-owned buffer strip between the Tank Farm parcel and Wasson Place lots. In exchange, developers would provide a wider 52 m sloped green area that would act as a grade-separated buffer between the commercial/industrial lots and future residential development.
“The increased buffer provided in Option 2 offers several advantages over Option 1, including: increased separation between the commercial/industrial and residential uses, and more area to accommodate public amenities/infrastructure,” Agarwal said, going on to state a zoning amendment and land exchange agreement is needed to be approved by council for the changes to go ahead. Under questioning by Coun. Laura Cabott later in the meeting, Agarwal explained that with a wider buffer there are possibilities for a gentler slope and more trails through the area.
“The possibilities start to widen,” he said.
Coun. Dan Boyd noted his agreement with the land exchange being preferable but also stressed the importance of ensuring the wider 52 m buffer is indeed what is put in place and having it enshrined in writing.
Director of development service Mike Gau told council the development agreement would include the requirement and be registered on title.
Coun. Jan Stick also spoke in favour of the land swap, noting it will be good for the city and good for residential planning.
If zoning and subsequent subdivision are approved, the plans would see 13 fully-serviced commercial/industrial lots created in Phase 1.
The eastern portion of Phase 1 would be excavated to create the lots, resulting in a significant grade change between Phase 1 and future residential areas.
“The applicant expects that approximately 750,000 cubic metres of granular material would need to be relocated prior to development via a short internal haul road and stored just north of the Phase 1 area,” Agarwal explained. “This material will be stockpiled for use in future phases of the tank farm development. Approximately two per cent of the material is expected to be utilized as part of the construction of Phase 1 development. The excavation and site haul work is planned for the construction season of 2022, pending subsequent approvals.”
Council will vote on whether to move forward with bylaws for both the zoning change and land exchange agreement July 14. If approved, a public hearing on the zoning would be held Aug. 9 with a report then coming forward to council on Sept. 7 ahead of second and third reading Sept. 13. It was noted in Agarwal’s report the schedule is subject to change.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at email@example.com