Belvedere golf club.
A proposed condominium development next to Belvedere Golf Course in Charlottetown has been given the green light.
The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) has overturned city council's decision last year to reject an application to rezone the property at 1 Greensview Drive, just off Kensington Road, from open space to medium density residential.
Hanmac Inc. wants to put three six-unit buildings on a section of land between the Sobeys Foodland supermarket (formerly Co-op) and the golf course.
The land is owned by the golf course.
The course wants to sell the land in hopes of helping out the finances.
The price tag for the property in question is believed to be about $300,000.
Belvedere expected to lose up to $80,000 in 2014.
In its decision, IRAC is critical of city council, which voted 5-3 against the application in July 2014.
"It is clear from the minutes of council that the councillors who chose to speak had not bothered to inform themselves on the matter of the application before them,'' IRAC said in a written decision.
"Those councillors spoke of concerns for which there were answers in the record, expressed concerns about matters which could have been and should have been canvassed by them long before they entered the council chamber for a vote on such an important matter.''
Concerns included traffic on Kensington Road and water drainage although the manager of planning at the time said developers had provided a draft drainage plan by a certified civil engineer.
IRAC was also critical that council's written explanation to the developers about its decision mentioned drainage as an issue but that it didn't come up during the actual public meeting of council.
"It is apparent to the commission that the councillors were most definitely not 'alive to the issue' that was before them,'' the decision reads, noting that those who had concerns could have found answers easily by asking planning board staff.
"But, instead, as the record confirms, they chose to enter the council chamber and vote on a matter for which they were not fully informed.''
Former city councillor Danny Redmond, who represented the area at the time and voted against the application, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Thane Hanson with Hanmac was also not available for comment.
Former city councillor Rob Lantz, chairman of planning at the time, declined to comment.
Coun. Greg Rivard, current chairman of planning, said issues are not always black and white for council when it comes to voting on issues like this.
"Staff follow a strict process in getting applications to council, while council may take into consideration other outside factors and/or put more emphasis on such things as residential input,'' Rivard said, adding that council will review the decision and learn from it.
IRAC said the following about a request for condos next to Belvedere Golf Course:
- Subject property is underutilized, little benefit to golf course
- More compatible with existing residential neighbourhood than a high-density residential development
- Does not negatively impact adjacent green space occupied by golf course
- Development is rational, efficient, orderly and addresses needs for housing diversity