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3L pauses application approval process after miscommunication

COURTENAY, B.C- A developer looking to build near the Stotan Falls has put their plans on hold, temporarily.

Since 2006, 3L Developments has been looking to secure approval to develop a stretch of land between the Brown River and the Puntledge River, west of Courtenay, into a residential area. The parcel holds the Stotan Falls, a popular spot for residents of the Comox Valley to go swimming.

The initial attempt by the company for approval had been unsuccessful in previous years, prompting a court battle between 3L and the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD).

It ended with the district being compelled by the court to examine the developer’s plans.

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Part of the disagreements stem from 2011, when a “Regional Growth Strategy” was adopted by the CVRD, along with the other communities in the valley. Areas of future expansion were identified in Saratoga Beach, Mount Washington, and the Union Bay area.

The land around Stotan Falls was not included as an area of future growth.

In December, the CVRD indicated that the 3L application would be heard by the board in April, in order to figure out whether or not a change to their growth plans would be a “major or minor amendment”.

A preliminary report was planned to head to the board in January, with a decision on the amendment coming in April. However, a letter sent by 3L to the CVRD on Jan.9 put that process on hold.

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“In the letter, they expressed an interest to put the process on hold until they gathered info they thought was needed for the CVRD and the public to make a decision on their application,” said Anne MacDonald, the general manager of planning and development services for the CVRD.

“All applications to the CVRD are treated in a fair way, because we recognize that there is a fair bit of work that goes into the process to bring forward an application. We look forward to working with the developer and his representatives, once we are advised by 3L how and when they’re ready to proceed.”

Despite the pause, the letter was sent in error, according to 3L’s chief financial officer James MacIntyre.

“The letter that we sent back in January, was, we’ll say, a misunderstanding, or maybe not complete open communication between both of us, that the January meeting was supposed to be a bureaucratic process that puts us into the April meeting,” said MacIntyre, speaking with 98.9 The Goat on Friday.

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“Everything was on hold since January because we just need to hear whether or not the April meeting is to simply put our development into the regional growth strategy, so that it fits with the strategy that’s been proposed.”

MacIntyre said the company now has at least three people reaching out to the CVRD to open up “positive communications” with the district. As of this publication, they haven’t heard back.

As for what will happen when the application appears before the CVRD board, MacIntyre indicated that 3L is hoping to keep everything the same from 2008’s attempt. According to him, there was a good conversation between the company and the district at that time about density, and a plan to donate half the land of the development for a park.

“3L Developments, by far, wants the parkland to be part of the community,” said MacIntyre.

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We will follow this story as it develops.

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