An application to rezone a 56-acre property slated for golf course development at Revelstoke Mountain Resort paints a picture of a links development likely to be deferred for years, if it is developed at all.
On Nov. 22, the City of Revelstoke’s Advisory Planning Commission (APC) debated an application by Mck-Kids Holdings Ltd. to downzone the McKinnon Road property from Comprehensive Development Zone 8 to Rural Residential 60.
If approved, this effectively withdraws the property from the Revelstoke Mountain Resort development zone and down-zones it so only one residence would be allowed on the large lot.
Since golf course development is funded by sales of resort property ringing the course, it means a golf course would not likely happen for many years if the change is approved. The new zoning would allow a golf course, but only one residence.
The property sits roughly in the middle of the proposed course, isolating another approximately 50-acre resort parcel that is connected to Shiell Road and Nichol Road to the southwest.
Revelstoke real estate agent Carl Rankin is the agent for client Jack McKinnon, who owns the property.
Rankin told the APC that the rezoning application was designed to save on taxes. He said the owner had a deal to sell the property to the resort and had received a deposit, but the deal had fallen through.
In September, 2010, the Times Review reported a $7.7 million deal to buy properties from two holding companies controlled by McKinnon had fallen apart. The resort had paid a $250,000 deposit but didn’t close on the deal. The original deal was put together when Don Simpson was the main proponent at the resort; it subsequently became controlled by Northland Properties.
However, in the meantime, the property had been zoned to the commercial designation. When the assessment change eventually took effect this year, taxes on the property quadrupled.
Photo: The Revelstoke Mountain Resort golf course as depicted in the 2003 Resort Master Development. An application to rezone a property at the heart of the course could Balkanize the plan.
A city clerk told the Times Review annual taxes on the lot in 2012 totalled $62,523.
Rankin said McKinnon was now “left holding the bag” with no ability to move forward on a property designated for a golf course inside a comprehensive development zone.
“He has no intention of hurting the future progress of the resort. They’ve been big proponents of it for 25 years. But he also doesn’t want to be in a position where he’s got this piece of vacant land that he owns and he’s paying commercial taxes,” Rankin said. “He’s not doing anything on it that’s commercial or has the intention of doing anything that’s commercial.”
Rankin said McKinnon had no plans to develop the property; he wants to avoid paying commercial taxes. He said a future buyer interested in developing a golf course could apply to rezone it back.
At the Nov. 22 meeting, city APC members eventually agreed with a planning department recommendation to send the application to a public hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.
Two stakeholders have already provided comment on the deal. The provincial Resort Development Branch said they wouldn’t support rezoning that would preclude a golf course.
Northland Properties Ltd. asked for several conditions, including a damage covenant and a request to recover development costs on the land paid for by Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Planning director John Guenther expressed concern that the change could lead to a “Balkanization” of the properties that were formerly to be included in the golf course.
“This is a pretty significant change to a piece of land that’s integral to the golf course,” Guenther told the commission. “It’s really difficult to develop and 18-hole golf course with this piece of land missing. … You’re losing 100 acres from the golf course.”
He also cautioned that from a planning perspective, a change to permit lowering taxes is not a valid reason.
APC members also alluded to other outcomes; the rezoning application could face a legal challenge from Northland Properties. Another idea raised was the concept that Northland Properties would now seek to buy the property to avoid the negative perception it would cast on the future of the golf course plan.