The public will be able to comment on potential zoning changes that could allow for a Tim Hortons and gas station in the community at a public hearing set for Monday, Feb. 8.
During the Kent council meeting Monday night (Jan. 11), council voted to give first and second reading to two bylaw amendments, which could make it possible for a Tim Hortons, gas station, convenience store and retail space to be built on the corner of Lougheed Highway and Highway 9.
The three properties involved in the zoning amendment are located across from the Esso and Horn of Plenty cafe outside downtown Agassiz. Two of the properties are occupied by mobile homes, while the third property hosts the “Welcome to Agassiz” sign. Although the three properties are part of the Agricultural Land Reserve, their small size means that restrictions on agricultural land does not apply to them.
The two readings given in council Monday will help pave the way for potential amendments to both the Official Community Plan (OCP) and the zoning bylaw.
The main amendment to the zoning bylaw would see the three properties rezoned from Rural Residential 2 to Highway Commercial, which would allow for the area to potentially be used as a service-oriented place for the travelling public.
|The proposed development at Lougheed Highway and Highway 9, which would see a Tim Hortons, gas station and convenience store at the location. (10.1 and 10.2, Appendix C/Kent Council Agenda)|
The OCP amendment would include the properties in the Development Permit Area for downtown revitalization, which means owners would require approval for the form and character of any potential buildings on the site.
Other changes in those two amendments are more clerical in nature: changing the OCP to reflect the rezoning, adding “fueling station use” to the zoning bylaw, and limiting commercial activities in the Highway Commercial zone so it doesn’t duplicate those allowed in the downtown core.
Although council approved the first two readings, there was still some concern about the potential impact the development would have on traffic in the area.
The properties are next to the central intersection between Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison Mills and downtown Agassiz, which is controlled by a four-way stop.
The traffic study provided by OTG Developments indicated they could see approximately 200 vehicles moving through the site each hour, with the majority heading to or coming from Harrison Hot Springs. Counc. Duane Post noted during the meeting that traffic can occasionally be backed up to the Agassiz tracks and go “almost as far as the eye can see” into Harrison, which the study did not necessarily represent during its one Saturday of observation.
“My only concern with this development is going to be the traffic,” Post said. “Ten years from now we’re going to go to highways and we’re going to say, we need a light or we need a traffic circle, and they’re going to say too bad, so sad.”
Lougheed Highway and Highway 9 are both under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation, although Else Road, which also connects to the four-way stop, is under the municipality’s. District staff recommend that potential upgrades to the intersection should come from the Ministry of Transportation.
According district’s director of development services Lisa Beaulieu, OTG Developments recognized the development’s potential impact on traffic, and is willing to put aside money in a contingency for future upgrades to the intersection. Details such how much money should be left in trust would be decided before a development permit is issued.
The decisions made by council would only begin to clear the way for the developer. After the public hearing, council will give final reading to the amendments, which would change the zoning and OCP for the properties. After the rezoning, the owners would need to apply for a development permit and building permits, where specifics like the form of the buildings and the layout of the parking lot can be discussed by council.
The public hearing for the bylaw amendments will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8. People interested in commenting on the proposal will be able to participate via Microsoft Teams, by registering for the live webcast at the District of Kent’s website in early February. Residents can also send in written submissions with their comments to email@example.com before 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 8.
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