After almost a decade of applications, postponements, permits, adjustments, amendments and the addressing of various community concerns, a Bear Mountain area property appears closer to being developed.
The most recent plans approved by Langford council for the land, a long, narrow 1.2-hectare parcel at 2150 Millstream Rd. at the base of Bear Mountain Parkway, is a new 11-home residential subdivision.
The original rezoning application for the property, outlining an intent to develop an additional subdivision off the current Eagle Ridge Development, was made by Edward (Ted) Hemsworth in 2006. That was delayed as a result of a North Langford development moratorium at the time, but it came before council again in 2012 to address the removal of trees and restart the development process.
Since then, the existing zoning for the property went from a designation known as “Greenbelt” to one as “Rural Residential,” due to a universal bylaw adjustment that changed all properties with the former designation.
Around that time Hemsworth’s development proposal called for a 16-unit townhome complex, but he subsequently changed his application to 11 single-family dwellings with secondary suite potential.
Throughout the extensive rezoning and development proposal process, many nearby residents expressed concerns about the project.
Elaine So, owner of a property on Stone Gate, which backs onto the Millstream property to be developed, sent a letter to the City of Langford in June last year, outlining her concerns.
“Much to my dismay,” she wrote, “the most appealing feature of my home purchase two years ago is now in jeopardy, as the natural and private landscape behind my house could in the future be replaced with a collection of housing.”
She also raised concerns that while the current owner/developer has expressed a desire to keep the sensitive ecosystem of the greenbelt intact, there is no guarantee that future owners or developers would commit to this unless some legislation was put in place to force them to do this.
Marek and Sandra Lelewski of Pintail Place, whose residential property backs onto the 2150 Millstream Rd. site, asked council to prevent the developer from making changes that would “significantly” undermine the integrity of their property.
“It seems gravely unfair to us that someone should be given permission to damage our property and then we have to incur costs to make things safe again,” they wrote. “While we fully expected to lose some privacy once something was developed behind our property, this is extreme and will most definitely adversely affect our home’s resale value.”
These concerns and others were seemingly addressed by Hemsworth, who was directed by various committee resolutions to implement a “park space or privately held green space protected from disturbance by a trail connecting the linear park accessing off Stone Gate.” The developer was also stipulated to create a covenant advising future owners of the properties’ proximity to Western Speedway, located across Millstream Road, which is a source of significant noise when in use.
There is currently no timeline on the future of the development.