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Residents don't want Business Park rezoning

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Residents are unhappy with proposed changes to zoning in the Squamish Business Park.

The District of Squamish (DOS) proposes to rezone the mainly undeveloped area that includes Queensway, Pioneer Way and Aspen Road to an Industrial 8 (I-8) zoning. The proposed new zoning allows for a range of clean industrial, technology based office and indoor recreation uses.

The lands are currently zoned Industrial 1 (I-1). One key difference between the two designations is that under I-1 property owners can store far more things outdoors. I-8 zoning requires the business activities, including storage, to take place indoors.

Mayor Ian Sutherland described I-1 as a vague zoning while he said I-8 is clearer."It brings consistency and certainty," he said.

People like the Whittakers who live on Government Road at northwest corner of proposed rezoning area aren't happy because the rezoning impacts the value of their property.

The Whittakers expressed their unhappiness and according to Sutherland, their concerns were heard.According to Sutherland, the properties with houses on them that are facing the change to I-8 must be changed for the greater good of the community in the future.

"We understand that it doesn't suit the desires of the people who are there but we have to protect that land," Sutherland said. The mayor worries that if the property is zoned residential and the existing homes are removed for a condominium project the new condo owners would be surrounded by 24-hour industrial operations with no buffers between the homeowners and the business operators.

Sutherland said Coun. Jeff Dawson suggested holding off on rezoning the properties that currently have houses on them until BCR Corporation announces its intentions for the nearby land formerly used for rail operations.

"We could rezone to I-8 at the core then wait four to six months and then BCR Properties will know what it is going to do," said Sutherland.

As part of the consultation process in rezoning the properties, a public information open house was held on July 7. Those potentially impacted by the proposal had an opportunity to express concerns at the open house.

The members of DOS Council will get a report from DOS staff summarizing the meeting. Council will decide how to proceed after viewing the report.

jfrench@squamishchief.com

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