A community group made up of property owners is taking the Town of Gibsons to court, claiming a bylaw passed by the municipality has the potential to “dramatically alter the character and quality of life in their community.”
The O’Shea/Oceanmount Community Association filed a petition in BC Supreme Court on July 18. According to the association, the town adopted a zoning amendment bylaw that goes against the official community plan by allowing the multi-unit Eagleview property development, where a developer plans to build 87 townhouses and apartments.
“The community is one that consists predominantly of single-family residential homes on quiet streets, forested on one side, and with many of the homes having largely or entirely unobstructed views and privacy,” the petition states. “The Eagleview development, being partly built on a sloping and raised plot of land, will tower over the community, including the properties owned by the association members, fundamentally altering the character of the community for its residents.”
Meanwhile, the town’s council and staff claim the development complies with Gibson’s official community plan, but the association contends “this is simply not the case” because “Eagleview grossly exceeds the limits for density.”
“The result of this is that Eagleview will be a large, multifamily complex in an area that was not intended for such use,” the petition states.
Furthermore, the association claims that a new floor-space ratio definition under the zoning amendment bylaw “renders the community plan superfluous, as the next developer can change the FSR definition again or alter any other definition that limits them in order to suit their planned developments.”
“This leaves the community plan as a mere vision board for Gibsons, which can be adhered to or ignored at the whim of developers and council, leaving the residents of Gibsons, who moved there for its unique character, without any certainty as to what the future holds for their community,” the petition states.
The association seeks to quash the zoning amendment bylaw as invalid for being inconsistent with the Town of Gibsons’ official community plan. The petition’s factual basis has not been tested in court, and the town had not responded to the petition by press time.