Terrace housing development worries residents

Council delays rezoning decision after hearing of traffic, erosion concerns

TERRACE city council has postponed a rezoning decision for a piece of property on the bench after hearing protests by nearby residents.

A Vancouver developer who bought the 5.28 acres on the top of Lanfear Hill last year wants to build up to 69 duplex or townhouse units but residents say that kind of jump in density has them worried about traffic problems and about stability of the hill.

Jim Checkley, who lives adjacent to the property and collected signatures to present to council during a rezoning hearing held last night, said “there is more than just a casual interest in what is going to happen up here.”

He said that residents want to see the city come up with a traffic plan for the Thomas/McConnell intersection at the top of Lanfear and for the adjacent Cooper/Thomas intersection before allowing big developments on the bench.

“It is a tremendous bottleneck and an unbelievable hazard,” Checkley said, explaining that the hill cannot handle more traffic.

He also cited concern that the project could lead to more erosion of the hill.

Other residents expressed similar concerns and also were unhappy that the developer had chosen not to attend the hearing nor make any plans for the development public.

Marilyn Fell told council that residents on the bench had chosen to live in that location so that they wouldn’t have the high-density atmosphere of downtown and she felt that council was not listening to those concerns.

“The public hearing is called, but the public is not being heard, the developers are being heard,” she contended.

The city has taken the position that this type of development is not widely available on the residential bench area of the city and it would help Terrace meeting housing needs.

The land was rezoned from its AR2 agricultural designation to R1 residential last year in accordance with bylaw update measures.

On the table is an application by the developer to have the property rezoned once again to an R3 low-density, multi-family residential designation.

The decision on this application was tabled until council’s next meeting on July 13 pending more information about traffic plans for Lanfear Hill.

City staff have determined that a traffic impact study may be mandated in this case if the developer intends to put more than 50 units on the property.

The property, perched at the top of Lanfear Hill offering a view of Terrace and area, once belonged to Mamie and Fred Kerby and was sold last year for $1.28 million.

It’s not the only large piece of property up for development in that area of the bench.

Further north along Thomas, a large piece of land was sold – and then cleared – immediately adjacent to Uplands Elementary last year for another housing project.