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General News · 18th May 2014
David Rousseau
It's almost early summer and the Cortes property market (such as it is) may be expected to warm up with the weather. Considering the few large parcels that have the potential to really affect the local landscape (social, environmental and economic), two that really stand out are the clearcuts on the corner of Barthololemew Rd and Sutil Pt Rd in Manson's Landing. These lots are 1066 Bartholomew Rd (Lot 1 Sec. 6) and 668 Sutil Pt Rd. (SW 1/4 Sec. 6).
I note that these two parcels are being marketed as "Bartholomew Woods" (I hardly need to comment on the twisted irony in that for anyone who has seen them and knows the history) AND they are described as "residential development property". This description is very misleading. At the very most, they are "potential" development properties. The vast majority of the land is in forestry zoning and only a small portion is designated rural in the Cortes Official Commnity Plan.
First, forestry zoned land has almost no development potential. A few homes are allowed on large parcels. That's it. Second, let me explain the difference between designated and zoned. Designated means that in the planning process, a land area was seen to have logical possibility for future uses. It does not confer any rights on the owner at all. Except the right to apply to have it zoned as they wish, which anyone can do at any time, no matter how unlikely the request, and no matter the designation of the land.
So a warning to any potential buyer: achieving any actual residential development rights on these parcels would be a massively complex and difficult task, requiring the consent of islanders and all affected parties. That means lengthy application periods, public hearings and opportities for people and organizations to intervene.
Given the history of very negative local attitudes towards rezoning of forestry lands and the desire to restrict large residential developments, I think it very unlikely that an application for major residential zoning on those lands would be successful.
It's simple. Little public support equals little likleihood of rezoning. So much for "residential development property".