A rezoning application is causing a stir in a Langford neighbourhood at the base of Bear Mountain.
The application would see a piece of land at 2150 Millstream Rd. changed from a Greenbelt 1 zoning to Cluster Housing Residential, which would allow for 60 per cent site coverage, up from 10 per cent, and greater density.
The plan is to build four townhouses with a total of 16 units, along with an additional duplex with two units, all on the three-acre property. Kingbird and Longspur drives would be extended across the property for access, along with a private road running perpendicular to Longspur.
Marek and Sandra Lelewski live on Pintail Place, on a piece of property which borders 2150 Millstream. They say residents from around the neighbourhood are coming together to oppose the rezoning.
The Lelewski’s main concern is a loss of privacy and their view, both of which they feel will be greatly compromised by the proposed development.
“We do pay extra for something like this, so if the rezoning goes ahead, the plan goes ahead, everything we paid extra money for is out the windows,” Marek said. “How do we get that money back?”
Another concern is potential blasting which may have to take place to level the property. The Lelewskis are worried it would ruin a rock wall they have worked on for years to install features such as planters and a waterfall.
Changing the spirit of the neighbourhood with the higher density is also foremost on their minds and the minds of their neighbours, they said.
“People were upset. They clearly stated their concerns. Nobody was really prepared for this,” Marek said. “Everybody wants to do something.”
“We just don’t really know what step and how,” Sandra added.
Edward and Linda Hemsworth have owned the Millstream property for seven years. The same application was submitted in 2006, but was delayed by a development moratorium and market conditions, according to a Langford staff report.
The Hemsworths did not wish to comment for print, but provided a copy of their letter to the planning, zoning and affordable housing committee.
In it they describe a history of successful development projects by Hemsworth Homes Ltd. in Greater Victoria, going back as far as 1979. The intention is to build a style of “flex housing,” which they believe will do well on the market.
Their intention is to incorporate the site’s steep slopes into the design, but with some levelling. The Hemsworths also plan to preserve some of the trees which are enjoyed by the neighbours. They state neighbours have also been using the property for the dumping of organic waste.
“(The reactions of neighbours) express a great range of local opinions and therefore suggest different personal intentions and morals,” reads the letter.
Ideally the Lelewski’s main goal is stop the rezoning altogether. Barring that, they hope to be able to convince council to reduce the density allowed for the property.
Organizing the neighbourhood is the task at hand, with a petition in the works and informal meetings taking place to discuss approaches.
Langford staff is currently working on a report, which is expected to come before council at its July 15 meeting.