Whitehorse Daily Star

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AMENDMENT OPPOSED – City council has been advised to disallow a drive-thru at the Kopper King site along the Alaska Highway.

City staff erect roadblock to KK drive-thru

Defeating a recommendation to change the zoning for the Kopper King doesn’t mean the city won’t take another drive through the issue down the road.

By Stephanie Waddell on January 10, 2017

Defeating a recommendation to change the zoning for the Kopper King doesn’t mean the city won’t take another drive through the issue down the road.

On Monday evening, city planning manager Pat Ross brought forward the recommendation that council defeat the proposed zoning amendment that would allow for a drive-thru at the Alaska Highway site just south of Porter Creek.

While council members didn’t argue against the recommendation, a few noted that if a specific plan for a drive-thru were to come forward they would like to see that considered.

The owners of the property made the application for the change as part of their efforts to sell the property.

As Ross outlined in his report: “No specific development is proposed.

“The property is for sale, and the applicant has stated that they wish to increase the marketability of this location.

“Existing uses on the lot include retail establishments, restaurants, a gas station, and a non-conforming residential mobile home park located at the rear of the property with approximately 30 mobile homes.”

It was just one resident of the mobile home park who spoke and also provided a written submission on the zoning change during a public hearing last month.

He argued the change could devalue the mobile homes, as potential home buyers may be less likely to purchase at the Kopper King because of the possibility of redevelopment.

He also noted it would be difficult to relocate the mobile homes to other areas of the city.

“Currently, the lot is zoned CH – Highway Commercial, which does not allow mobile home parks,” Ross stated.

“However, the Kopper King mobile home park is an existing non-conforming development, which means that the mobile homes can remain on the lot, but that further development cannot take place on the lot to increase its non-conformity (i.e.: increasing the number of mobile homes).

“A new proposed drive-thru could be added without increasing the non-conforming aspect of the mobile home park.

“If the zoning amendment was approved, it may increase the likelihood that the mobile home park will be impacted in order to facilitate new development.

“However, this is a speculative zoning amendment to increase the marketability of the location and no specific development plans have been proposed to indicate what would occur on the lot.”

It had been suggested the property could be subdivided and the mobile home park rezoned to Residential Mobile Home Park to bring it into conformity with the zoning.

However, Ross pointed out a change to the Official Community Plan (OCP) would first be required before such a change in zoning could be considered.

“The OCP designation of the Kopper King Mobile Home Park could be looked at in the upcoming OCP review which is tentatively scheduled to begin in late 2017,” he said.

Ross then went on to explain the recommendation to defeat the proposed zoning change that would allow a drive-thru.

He pointed out that a drive-thru would not be in-line with a number of OCP policies that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to encourage businesses along the highway that complement rather than compete with downtown businesses.

“As such, it is recommended that this bylaw be defeated,” Ross stated

“A broader examination of land uses along the highway should be considered as part of the OCP review. This would include examining whether the broader range of uses should be allowed along the highway.”

And it appears at least a couple of council members are interested in looking at that possibility.

Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu was quick to ask how long before a potential zoning amendment could come back to council for a drive-thru if there was a prospective drive-thru business interested.

Ross noted that it’s possible such a proposal with detailed plans could come back fairly quickly, as it would be seen to be different from the more speculative amendment currently.

Coun. Dan Boyd meanwhile, wondered how many people perhaps make their way from the highway to downtown just to get a coffee in the morning, then head back up to the highway again for work.

Allowing for a drive-thru on the highway may alleviate some of the traffic congestion through the downtown area in the mornings, he suggested.

He noted he would like to see council remain open to the possibility of allowing a drive-thru should a more detailed proposal come forward.

In that case, he said he would like to see those plans come back to council for consideration.

Ross also went on to confirm there is – to his knowledge – only one property available for development that would allow for a new drive-thru in the downtown.

Council will vote on whether to defeat the zoning amendment next week.

Comments (9)

Up 29 Down 1

Only when it works for us on Jan 13, 2017 at 1:59 pm

The OCP is followed to the letter only when it works for certain individuals in the city. This decision is ridiculous. Something smells rotten here. More congestion downtown, more pollution downtown, less opportunity for highway business to make a profit. As for the trailer park feeling their property values would fall, I think a profitable business in the vicinity with amenities would be more of a draw than a vacant building.

Up 32 Down 3

Stan Walker on Jan 12, 2017 at 7:03 pm

This is such a joke. Really council, you have thought this through?

A drive in is a good idea. There is a safe pull off spot and highway entrance area and ample areas for lineups and likely eager clients- it's a good idea, why not be supportive. The current business may grow into something nice rather than becoming more run down.

I wish council would follow the official community plan more closely with more pressing development concerns. My barber works from home and fears he will be shut down if a neighbour complains about a few vehicles stopping daily, noise in this case has almost no impact. Meanwhile we are woken up in the middle of the night by ATVs on approved city trails and with young illegal operators who have no regard for our peace and quiet. The City has allowed these ATVs to go through sensitive wildlife areas which is against the intent of the OCP and its very disruptive to us. But what do they care. And here they are playing the rigid OCP dogma.

No vote from me next time.

Up 45 Down 3

Charles on Jan 11, 2017 at 7:07 pm

'He pointed out that a drive-thru would not be in-line with a number of OCP policies that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions'. Can someone explain how a drive-thru at KK would impact greenhouse gas emissions more than traffic going to a drive-thru downtown, plugging up traffic, longer line ups and idling engines? Dan Boyd is correct, a drive-thru on Hwy both sides of town would ease slow downs in a.m. Why on earth would someone spend time and $$ coming up with a specific plan without knowing the zoning was in place? This is utter nonsense from Pat Ross, and it would probably have little impact on trailer park.

Up 46 Down 6

Good planing is when all options on Jan 11, 2017 at 1:01 pm

and plus and minus are displayed. This business like all businesses should be able to expand its business to be more competitive. That is what free enterprise is all about.

Up 52 Down 7

Martin on Jan 11, 2017 at 6:41 am

Shame on City Planning and Council to stop this application based on "competition vs complement" and other non-sense. If I was to bring a business to the CoW, I'd rather look elsewhere. No wonder why our economy is not-running on all cylinders (pun intended).

Up 45 Down 5

Max Mack on Jan 10, 2017 at 11:57 pm

Didn't the Mayor recently express his frustration about city staff making a recommendation to council? And, here is city staffer Ross doing exactly that.
What exactly is the role of city staff? To recommend what the Mayor wants? Or, a select handful of councilors?

And when did the OCP and existing zoning rules trump proposals coming before council? We've seen many cases where the OCP was twisted to justify changes in zoning rules - even when other residents or businesses were opposed.

I'm have no position on the issue of a drive-thru at the Kopper King, but I can't help but feel frustrated with the apparent contradictions in CoW processes.

Up 52 Down 5

Just Say'in on Jan 10, 2017 at 7:35 pm

The Downtown Business assoc. got this into the OCP many years ago. It is crazy. Everywhere you go there is Fast Food on the Highway. The whole idea of Administration to council is crazy. We elect council to represent us and give direction to Administration. We have the Cart pushing the Horses. It is time to DRAIN the SWAMP.

Up 45 Down 12

Mark on Jan 10, 2017 at 6:42 pm

I find it very amusing that one resident cites devalue of the trailers outback if this went through. I would say that the value of these old trailers would be dependent upon the value of the furniture inside.

Up 98 Down 25

ProScience Greenie on Jan 10, 2017 at 3:29 pm

City planning manager Pat Ross was not voted into office so should not be recommending how mayor and council should vote. There is no valid reason not to allow a drive-thru at that location or pretty much anywhere else in CoW.

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