Addition of Residential Lots to Existing Neighbourhoods

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Overview

The City and Yukon Government (YG) have identified parcels of land in 8 different Whitehorse neighbourhoods that could be developed for housing. There are 13 locations, 7 of which are owned by YG, and 6 by the City. Depending on the location, each could have between 1 and 5 housing lots. The potential locations are:

Consultation

On May 23, 2017 City Council voted to endorse the initiative to carry out an initial phase of public consultation on what type and form of housing could be built. The survey was available from May 24th until June 18. A summary of public input will be available soon.

The initial round of consultation was focused on information gathering, and did not specifically ask the question or whether or not residents support development on these sites.Additional questions can be directed to housinglots@whitehorse.ca. 

Next Steps

Housing Lots_process 

The City is currently compiling input that has been received.  Environmental background work has also recently been completed. Based on all of this information, the City will further investigate which of the areas are viable and make sense for development. The City will then release two documents:

  • A summarized “what we heard” document
  • Draft mapping of potential lot layouts and zoning for the proposed housing lots

A formal Council decision is then needed on whether to proceed with development. The process would be done via Bylaws for land disposition and rezoning. Tentatively, this could start in late July, and be concluded by September. Regardless of dates, the process will include a lengthy public review period with a variety of opportunities and methods for public input. Public input would conclude with a formal public hearing before Council, which would occur no earlier than September. After the public hearing, Council would consider all input and make a decision on whether or not to approve rezoning, which in turn would enable lot sales and development. The process may need to be lengthened, e.g. to accommodate modifications to the draft lot designs.

Advertising of future public input opportunities will occur through the City website, ads (e.g. online, newspapers), signs on properties, and direct letters to nearby residents. 

FAQ

Why is the City considering new lots in existing neighbourhoods?

Whitehorse has a steadily growing population that requires additional housing. The major focus for housing development since 2012 has been Whistle Bend, which is expected to provide housing for another 10+ years. The City is considering additional housing lots in existing neighbourhoods to augment supply to help ease housing price escalation and keep homes affordable for families.

Why is the City examining the possibility of new lots in my neighbourhood?

As there is a temporary gap in lot availability in Whistle Bend, it is important to get additional supply to market in the short term. By developing housing lots in existing neighbourhoods, there isn’t a need to construct new infrastructure (roads/sewer/water). This is also a way to more efficiently use existing City services.

How did the City choose the proposed development areas?

The urban sites (Magpie, Sandpiper, Wilson) were chosen as they already have zoning that would allow housing development and they are adjacent to servicing. The country residential sites (Talus/Moraine, Fireweed, Salmon) were chosen based on contour mapping and site visits. The City is also undertaking some background work regarding environmental issues (geotech/hydrology).

Locations identified are supported for development by policies in the Official Community Plan (OCP) and Sustainability Plan. The City is not aware of significant recreational uses in these locations. Within the urban containment boundary (UCB, as shown on Map 5 of the OCP) all parcels are already zoned for development. Outside the UCB, all parcels would also need rezoning prior to any development. The OCP would only support country residential development 

What could get built on the proposed development sites?

The current proposal is for housing development, so any sites that move forward would have some type of residential use constructed on them. This could take the form of single family (with or without a suite), duplex, or (for urban locations only) multiple family construction. Typically, when new housing is integrated into existing built areas the new housing should be similar in form and scale to the existing housing. It is important to get input from local residents to help integrate any new development into the neighbourhood.

When might the lots be available?

There is significant Council and public process that needs to be completed prior to lot sales. If this results in a Council decision to proceed, it is expected that a lottery could be held late in 2017 or early 2018. 

How can I purchase one of these lots?

If the proposed lots proceed through the Council approval processes, there would likely be two separate (but simultaneous) land lotteries, as some of the lots are owned by the City and some are owned by the Yukon Government. If the proposed development areas move forward to sale, each government will be advertising, watch your local newspaper and the government websites.

How do I send my input to the City?

You can provide comments to the City emailing housinglots@whitehorse.ca. The first round of consultation, an information-gathering survey, was held from May 24th to June 18th. Future opportunities for input will be advertised widely.

How can I get more information?

All of the relevant information should be located on this webpage (www.whitehorse.ca/housinglots). You can also get more information by emailing housinglots@whitehorse.ca.