Cohousing project takes next step

Black Diamond: Council approves land use variance

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 06:00 am

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A company looking to build a cohousing project in Black Diamond got over a hiccup with the support of town council earlier this month.

Black Diamond town council approved a request from a local cohousing group on Dec. 4 to modify building rules to allow them to construct a housing complex on a hill on the east side of town.

Corvus Commons needed council’s support for a variance to a town bylaw prohibiting development on slopes with a grade of 15 per cent or more. The group is looking to build a 10 home project on a hill with an average grade of 20 per cent.

“This site cannot be developed without granting this variance for the use that it’s been approved for,” Town of Black Diamond planning and development officer Rod Ross told council, adding a report provided by the company was deemed satisfactory by administration.

Council’s decision will open the door for Corvus Commons Cohousing to apply for a development permit to build the project on a ridge at the west end of First Avenue SE west of Mainstreet Village.

The property was designated for semi-detached and detached housing when it was subdivided in 2006.

Corvus Commons is a proposed cohousing project where all unit owners participate in the planning, design and ongoing management and have a share in the land and common facilities.

The project is proposed to have 10 units, with three or four units per building, each with a walkout basement along the slope. An access road is proposed along the top of the hill.

No one from Corvus Commons was able to be reached for comment before the Western Wheel’s press time.

According to a report presented to town council, the group has been looking for suitable land for its development for four years, examining 19 properties before settling on this site. Corvus Commons found the site ideal because of the size of the land, easy access to town utilities and roadways and distance from the town centre.

The only hiccup so far was the slope of the hill on the site.

Ross told council Corvus Commons provided an assessment of the site stating development can occur on the slope if certain precautions were taken regarding grading, storm water management and placement and compaction of fill.

“It will certainly change the visual aspect of the slope, however, attractive buildings and well-maintained sites could be a visual improvement,” he told council.

For more information about the cohousing project go to


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