Not surprisingly, Northland Properties and Revelstoke Mountain Resort say they are “dismayed and very concerned” by last week’s City Council decision to grant Comprehensive Development rights to David Evans for his entire 18-acre parcel of land immediately adjacent to Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Council voted 5 – 2, with only Mayor McKee and Councillor Scott Duke voting against the rezoning approval on July 27.
“We believe Revelstoke City Council voted to ignore official community development plans and previous formal agreements, created by and for the community and the resort,” RMR President Graham Rennie said in a statement issued on Thursday, August 4. “These plans and agreements were developed over a number of years by committed and well-informed stakeholders and experts. Council chose to ignore these plans and commitments made in good faith – in order to support the interests of one developer who has now, in less than 12 months, been granted residential and commercial developments rights for more than 53 acres in Revelstoke.
“We believe Revelstoke City Council also chose to ignore the advice of regional, national and international ski resort and ski resort community development experts. Approving this rezoning, in part because, in the Council`s words, ‘the developer had worked hard on it’ shows City Council put the developer’s interests ahead of the long term interests of the community and the resort itself, which is integral to the sustained development of Revelstoke’s tourism based economy.”
He also said RMR and Northland Properties believe that Council’s decision to complete the rezoning process in less than 45 days in the summer was not in the best interests of Revelstokians.
“There were concerned citizens and industry experts that encouraged City Council to slow down or to revise the rezoning application to only the amount of land required to build the tree house hotel,” Rennie said. “Instead, as a result of Council`s vote last week, this comprehensive development zoning now applies to the entire 18 acre site.”
The Comprehensive Development zoning permit sought by Evans for his Tree House Hotel and subsequent development phases allows him to build more than one hotel on the site, located on Camozzi Road, as well as other facilities. Council’s decision permits him to begin work immediately on the Tree House Hotel followed by a second phase of development in five years and a third phase 10 years from now. Evans had wanted immediate building of the Tree House Hotel with a covenant that would disallow new construction for just five years.
“The definition of ‘hotel’ allows for retail, personal services, restaurants, banquet facilities and conference facilities within each hotel,” Rennie said. “Furthermore, this zoning does not specify any requirement for tree house style lodging to be built. Once a landowner has this type of zoning, restricting development on part of the land for 5 or 10 years is not an effective control or concession. Instead of taking the time to consider the implications of this rezoning application more fully, or attempting to find a `win-win solution’ for both the Resort and the Applicant, Mr. Evans, City Council instead gave this developer exactly what he sought, to the detriment of the resort.”
As evidence that Council’s decision may not be aligned with public opinion, Rennie revealed the results of a telephone survey of 1,000 local households that was conducted during the run-up to the four-hour public hearing on July 26 and the decision made the following day:
“Approximately 50% of those we spoke to had heard about the Tree House Hotel plan. Of those who had heard about it, more than 50% had either a negative or undecided initial impression of the plan. Once informed that it contravened Revelstoke’s Official Community Plan and the Master Development Agreement between the Province and RMR, more than 75% of these same people reported either a negative or undecided impression. This demonstrates that the more people learned about the Comprehensive Development zoning being sought, the less likely they were to support it.”
Rennie concluded his statement by saying that RMR and Northland believe “this decision was all about short-term gain and not about the long-term development of either downtown Revelstoke or Revelstoke Mountain Resort.”
The decision will “allow accommodation and retail development on both sides of the resort” that is bad for the economic health of the community and the downtown. It also devalues the resort’s base lands and “inhibits its ability to recover its infrastructure costs to date and to invest in future improvements through real estate sales,” he said.
Please activate the YouTube player below to watch Council’s vote (at the 54-minute mark) from Wednesday, July 27:
You can also activate the YouTube players below to watch the July 26 public hearing in its entirety: