Letter: Mackenzie Village developer responds to concerns

Developer David Evans responds to concerns by Revelstoke Advisory Planning Commission about Mackenzie Village proposal.

David Evans and his wife Shelley are the developers behind Mackenzie Village.

Editor,

Re: Revelstoke Advisory Planning Commission discusses Mackenzie Village development

I have always offered to be available to clarify questions or concerns of the public or the Advisory Planning Commission. I have been open and honest about my plans for the property, and have attended past APC meetings. I am a member of the community and only want what’s best for Revelstoke. I have tried to be open, honest and approachable throughout this process. Despite my desire to be forthcoming and honest, I now find the need to clarify several inaccuracies through a series of letters to council and the Review.

First, with regard to the time-line, this is a realistic projection based on the development of 50,000 to 100,000 square feet of real-estate per year, subject to market demands. We are not proposing to build the entire project in one shot as this would make no sense from an economic or practical standpoint.

There is no basis for the assumption the entire project will become a transient population. This is pure speculation, unrealistic, and invokes a sense of fear where it isn’t warranted. As Mr. Strachan mentioned, the city will have the ability to manage this process.

The intent of the vacation rental zone isn’t to create an entire neighbourhood of vacation rental suites, but to offer flexibility for home buyers. The rationale behind allowing vacation rentals is to prevent the types of problems we’re seeing with the illegal vacation rentals. By allowing vacation rentals with the purchase of each unit, it means that:

a) The vacation rentals will fall under the regulations set by the city (something not being done with illegal vacation rentals). This means vacation rentals would be pay taxes to the city. Additionally, units in Mackenzie Village would be required to contribute money to the Revelstoke Accommodation Association.

b) It provides flexibility for the purchaser to be able to supplement their income or contribute to their mortgage.

c) It sets an expectation for people who are buying, so they know they’re buying into a vacation rental zone. The alternative is buying a house in another neighbourhood with the expectation it is single-family, and finding out there are vacation rentals nearby.

d) It takes the strain off our neighbourhoods. Rather than buying a home elsewhere and having to re-zone to allow for vacation rentals, Mackenzie Village would be the main area for that, leaving more existing homes available for purchase by residents.

Lastly, on vacation rentals, it is in my best interest and the city’s best interest to manage the number and impact of vacation rentals, to ensure a diverse, active and attractive place to live for residents, seniors, and seasonal workers and second home-owners.

We have a lot of people who want to call Revelstoke home who cannot because of the lack of suitable housing. There seems to be a total misconception that I am going to be building homes for $99,000 and that is spreading fear amongst the local residents about the quality you can build for this price what that will do to their own property values.

Firstly, the price of $99,000 would be for an entry level apartment. This type of housing allows for a young person to get into Revelstoke’s housing market at a reasonable price. While many people may not want to live in a small apartment of 300–400 square feet, I think most people have at some point.

Secondly, the value of the surrounding neighbourhood is going to go up as a result of this rezoning, not down. It removes a large portion of single-family lots from the market and provides alternative housing styles and needs for our community that will grow the population. The alternative is another 100+ single family lots in an already saturated market that depresses prices of lots and existing homes.

Thirdly, I have provided a series of images that illustrate the style and quality of housing that I will be pursuing. These images show the use of local materials, detailing and form that is consistent with a high level of design. It is not my intention to build vinyl boxes, but rather to build something desirable and attractive.

Any resort community needs a strong owner vacation rental market that works in conjunction with the other hotel offerings. This is not competition, but complements this market place. Many people do not want to stay in hotels and will only come here if we have suitable vacation rentals. I am proposing a covenant be put in place so these rentals contribute to RAA.

Finally, as the designated areas will be strata managed, there is a greater ability to have bylaws put in place by the strata to manage issues such as noise and parking that other areas cannot do. If there are issues the city can remove the vacation rental zoning on future phases.

Prior to beginning design, the OCP was reviewed. Mackenzie Village meets a vast majority of the OCP goals and policies. This includes innovative strategies that have yet to be implemented in any neighbourhood design in Revelstoke such as having natural stormwater treatment, biomass district energy, a neighbourhood commercial node that is walkable and is linked by walking and cycling paths, a range of unit sizes and many other sustainable design principles.

In regards to development cost charges, the financial report that was provided to the city shows not only will this development contribute significantly more in DCCs than a single-family development, but it also won’t cost the city money in the long run. With a higher density and almost $8 million in DCCs, and accounting for the cost of replacing and maintaining infrastructure, Mackenzie Village would provide $1.3 million annually. By comparison a typical single-family development would cost the city $15,000 per year. While there may be a strong desire to keep building single-family residential, the city cannot afford it. A mix of density and housing that is able to pay for itself is key to the city’s long-term financial sustainability.

David Evans

Developer, Mackenzie Village

 

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