Bonavista town council received about 30 letters regarding concerns related to a potential rezoning near Red Cove Road.
The deadline for submissions was set for Monday, Feb. 11, the date of the regular town council meeting.
The campaign by some residents on the street, as well as others in the town, to protest against a possible rezoning at the nearby Red Head area off Cape Bonavista was due to a hotel developer’s request.
The request was intended to rezone the area to erect a hotel at the end of the residential street.
The area is currently zoned as “Open Space” and the discretionary notice was posted to change the area to “Open Space – Tourism” to allow for tourism related ventures to access the land near the ocean.
Concerns from the public ranged from making a narrow, quiet neighbourhood street into high-traffic access for a hotel, preserving valuable open, recreational and environmental space in the community and the precedent the rezoning sets to have many different types of tourism endeavours along the coastline.
At the Feb. 11 council meeting, several residents attended to further voice their displeasure.
Bonavista Mayor John Norman told The Packet all the letters have been taken into account and will be sent to the Department of Municipal Affairs, as is regular protocol for these situations.
“(Municipal Affairs) have to be involved to approve any zone change within an incorporated municipality,” said Norman.
He adds that they’re now awaiting the department’s feedback. This can result in an outright denial from Municipal Affairs, or they can approve the rezoning request, putting it back in council’s hands to vote on a decision, he says.
“Council still has the option to cancel the rezoning plan or to proceed with their endorsement.”
He adds, if denied by Municipal Affairs, their ruling overrides the town’s decision either way.
As far as seeing situations like this in the past, Norman says this level of formal complaint is highly unusual for a rezoning in Bonavista. There have been complaints regarding rezoning in Bonavista, but certainly nothing in the last 15 months he’s been mayor.
This all comes without any firm details on the proposed hotel itself, as even council hasn’t seen any concrete blueprints or plans for the business. In addition to the discussion at council regarding the concerns around rezoning itself, Norman says they’ve also discussed another meeting with the proposed developer to get more information as the issue goes forward.
The next regular council meeting is planned for Monday, Feb. 25. If the response from Municipal Affairs comes back affirming the request and the town continues with the idea of rezoning, they will still be required to hold a public consultation before they vote on the matter.