In a three-two vote on Jan. 15, RM of St. Francois Xavier councillors passed the second reading of a zoning bylaw amendment that permits residential development on the former Medicine Rock Café property.
The amendment will rezone the land from commercial central to residential multi-family. This will allow a proposed 45-unit condominium development to proceed on the 4.6 acres located between PTH 26 and Falcons Bow Lake.
At a public hearing on Dec. 13, 18 letters from residents opposed to the development were read out, along with one in favour.
Dwayne Clark and his family run a bed and breakfast in their home located near the former Medicine Rock property, which is owned by Peggy and Norm Van Eslander. His objection to the project is based on its scale and he said he’s disappointed that the councillors voted in favour of amending the bylaw.
The Van Eslanders refused to comment on the council’s vote.
St. Francois-Xavier reeve Roger Poitras said he and the other councillors reviewed all the information they received from the developer and that most feel that the condo plans are compliant with the municipality’s secondary plan governing development within municipal boundaries.
He added that the development agreement gives councillors the chance to set out terms for road access, water and sewer service and other amenities.
"We’ll be able to make certain that our concerns are addressed," he said.
Poitras noted that a condo development of this scope may help attract new residents to St. Francois Xavier and provide a suitable residence for people who wish to sell their homes but remain in the community.
"There are many positive aspects to this development," he said.
However, third and final reading of the amendment can’t take place until the White Horse Planning District approves it.
Because of the public objections, all those who made their concerns public will now have the chance to appeal to the planning district’s board members.
If anyone does appeal, the planning district is obliged to hold a public hearing before making a decision on the project and sending it back to council for a third reading.