Top Stories of 2011: Chilliwack cuts hillside density

Buildout potential was cut down considerably in the City of Chilliwack’s latest area plan for the Eastern Hillsides.

Buildout potential was cut down considerably in the City of Chilliwack’s latest area plan for the Eastern Hillsides.

The new density threshold is set at 1,700 homes for about 4,000 people, which is less than a third of what people were talking about in the mid-1990s.

The 4,000-people mark was pegged as the threshold at which infrastructure costs would rise “significantly,” creating uncertainty as to how those costs could be shared equitably, according to city officials.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz said the plan would most impact those who had purchased land on speculation that there would be higher density, but hillside residents were sure to like the decrease.

City reps used descriptors like “more viable” and “sustainable” to describe the revised hillsides area plan that they’ve been working on for more than a year.

The real costs of servicing and infrastructure were calculated and taken into account with this document and that’s what makes it different from past plans. It surveys that available capacity to support growth, especially in terms of the geo-technical limitations around Panorama Heights, as well as looking at environmental and market forces. The city was forced to purchase homes on Panorama Heights when it was discovered they were shifting and built on an ancient slide before they had the tools to assess such things.

Topography in the hillside regions can be “very steep” with 45 per cent of the land at more than 30 per cent grade, which is not suitable for development.

There’s also a scenario where buildout is at 6,000 homes, but it’s contingent on about $20 million in infrastructure money being produced up front to rebuild Annis Road and modifications to Prairie Central Road.

Update: The hillsides area plan went to public hearing and will be coming before council for final approval with OCP amendments sometime in 2012.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

Just Posted

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Light trucks are being converted to gas and propane in City of Chilliwack fleet

It came to light when tenders for certain trucks were deemed non-compliant without propane option

Family of missing Chilliwack senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

One-day delay for trial of Chilliwack pastor facing child porn charges

Main Street Church’s former executive pastor John Vermeer set for seven-day trial

Rail group to bring plan to Abbotsford council

Group is calling for plans to run trains on rail line between Chilliwack and Surrey

3 dead, 2 missing in northern B.C: Here’s what we know so far

Lucas Fowler, 23, and his girlfriend, Chynna Deese, were shot and killed on July 14 or 15

The Beaverton’s sharp satire thrives in polarized political climate

Canadian TV series’ third season to air Tuesday on CTV after “The Amazing Race Canada”

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Hazmat incident closes down Lower Mainland street

One person is believed to be dead, police said

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Pride flags stolen from Lower Mainland church

Went missing sometime Friday night, says Maple Ridge reverend

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Most Read