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Controversial Sidney rezoning to allow apartments cleared for new public hearing

The rezoning proposal would allow a four-storey, 63-unit apartment building to be built
The Town of Sidney has approved second reading for a revised zoning amendment proposal which would allow the construction of a four-storey, 63-unit rental apartment building at 2060 White Birch Rd., clearing the way for a new public hearing before a final adoption vote. (Courtesy of Alston Properties)

A controversial rezoning application in Sidney will return to a public hearing in the near future after council approved a new second reading of the rezoning bylaw Monday (March 13).

The re-do of the second reading was triggered after council voted to rescind the original second reading of a bylaw which would rezone 2060 White Birch Rd. to allow for the construction of a four-storey, 63-unit rental apartment building, following concerns raised during the original public hearing.

Residents told council during the Feb. 27 public hearing they were concerned about the impact the increased density would have on traffic and parking, especially with regards to a proposed restaurant or cafe located in the building. After much debate, council voted to rescind the original second reading of the bylaw and remove reference to the restaurant or cafe space from it.

At Monday’s meeting, the revised bylaw was read to council, still including the other asks made by property owner Mark Lindholm to change the way maximum permitted density on the property is calculated from the current formula based on the number of residential units per hectare of land – which limits this property to 34 residential units – to the more modern floor area ratio used for most of the town’s existing and upcoming multi-family residential developments. This would allow for the 63 units Lindholm plans to build.

READ MORE: Sidney council backtracks on proposed 4-storey, 63-unit rental building after public hearing

Staff clarified the proposed density calculation changes do not technically set a number limit on the amount of units which could be built, but rather set a limit on the amount of floor space a building built on the property is allowed to have. However, as the town requires each residential unit have its own parking space on the property, the number of units allowed on the property is effectively limited to being around the 63 the developer plans to build.

Other changes requested in the rezoning include lowering the required setback at the rear of the property and increasing the maximum lot coverage.

With the second reading approved by a vote of 5-2 – with Couns. Richard Novek and Terri O’Keeffe opposed, saying they continue to feel the proposal is increasing the density of the area too much – a new public hearing will now be scheduled to allow the public to provide feedback on the modified zoning amendment request before council votes on third reading and adoption.

READ MORE: Public, councillors ask tough questions about proposed Sidney waterfront development

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