Ucluelet moves Helen Road guesthouses ahead

“I would not want to see what happened next door happen on that property.”

After a public hearing rendered no objections

Ucluelet’s popularity amongst tourists is growing, bringing an increase in accommodation-based development applications.

Roger Pelosi, a Surrey B.C. local, wants to put a single-family residence and two cottages on his currently vacant 1055 Helen Road property but needs the district to move the site out of its Medium-Density Residential zone and into a Guest House zone.

“Under the proposed zoning, the subject lot would support six guestrooms—similar to B&B rooms—within the single family dwelling and four guest cottages,” wrote Ucluelet’s Planner 1 John Towgood in a report to council.

“It should also be noted that the rezoning will take away the potential for the property to create a secondary suite and a duplex dwelling, both of which represent an affordable housing option.”

A public hearing was held on Dec. 13 with little fanfare as Nick Yanchuck, who owns the site next door to Pelosi’s, was the only local to express an opinion and wrote a letter supporting the development.

“I think this is a gorgeous piece of property and is only going to be positive for the community moving forward as it will enhance our neighbourhood,” he wrote.

“The only concern I have is that they leave a buffer zone of trees between the two properties giving us each some privacy, which wouldn’t be an issue if they were to be selective when clearing the property getting ready for construction.”

Pelosi spoke at the hearing and assured clearing the site of foliage was not his intention.

“We’re only planning on taking enough trees down to build these three properties,” he said.

Despite the absence of public objections, Coun. Randy Oliwa expressed a hesitancy to allow the rezoning to go ahead citing concerns over the amount of trees that might be chopped down.

“It’s an environmentally sensitive area outlined in the [Official Community Plan] for tree removal,” he said. “The neighbour was okay with the rezoning, which was great, but he did mention the buffer…How would we enforce that?”

Oliwa explained his worry stemmed from a neighbouring Helen Road property which, he said, was wiped of trees despite the OCP’s tree-sensitive designation.

“It was pretty much napalmed,” he said. “Two wrongs don’t make a right. I would not like to have the same thing happen.”

Mayor Dianne St. Jacques supported Pelosi’s proposal and said the development would blend in well with the surrounding neighbourhood.

“The only comments that we’ve had on this one is a positive comment from the neighbour,” she said. “There hasn’t been any negative feedback at all. There are a number of buildings down in that area that are [Bed and Breakfast] and guesthouses so it seems to fit in with what’s going on.”

Council voted in favour of moving the application along but Oliwa reiterated his desire for tree-removal to be kept to a minimum.

“The OCP should be strictly adhered to,” he said. “I would not want to see what happened next door happen on that property.”