CastleRock subdivision begins planning for next phase

Future plans for Invermere’s CastleRock subdivision include a reduction in the number of lots and a corresponding increase in lot size

Future plans for Invermere’s CastleRock subdivision include a reduction in the number of lots and a corresponding increase in lot size in one of the subdivision’s planned phases, as well as development of several lots on the northwestern shore of Lake Windermere.

Haworth Developing Consulting Ltd. owner Richard Haworth presented to council during its Tuesday, September13th meeting, on behalf of Grizzly Ridge Properties Ltd. (which is the major partner in CastleRock EstatesLimited Partnership), updating council on new developments in the CastleRock and the surrounding GrizzlyRidge properties.

The CastleRock subdivision was started more than 10 years ago, with plans for about 10 or 1 phases, but only two were fully completed before construction ground to a halt around 2009, when the original developers claimed bankruptcy. It wasn’t until almost five years later that Grizzly Ridge Properties (headed by presidentMark Himmelspach) got involved and further progress on the subdivision’s phase three began.

Haworth outlined to council that original plans for CasteRock’s phase four envisioned 125 single family lots and almost 200 total lots, but that the market for housing of this type of density simply doesn’t exist.

“We don’t believe that this is the way to proceed, given the changes in the market,” said Haworth. “We’re seeing a strong desire for acre to half-acre lots with sewer and water. Lots that are rural in nature, but with the convenience of being in Invermere.”

The company is now proposing to rezone the land for phase four, and the new plan has 36 lots in the same space.

“Most would be one acre in size, although the range is generally from half and acre to two acres. A few (lots) are two and a half acres,” said Haworth, adding the company plans to put covenants on the lots so that they cannot be further subdivided in the future.

He said that 10 per cent of the area in the phase would remain dedicated park land, that steep slopes would be protected and that Grizzly Ridge Properties has already submitted a rezoning proposal to the district.

“We’ve already identified a strong market for these lots,” he said. “There’s been a lot of interest from localsthrough the grapevine in larger lots.”

There hasn’t really been a discussion of price points for the lots, Haworth told council, but he said that “Mark (Himmelspach) knows where the market is and is trying to get a product that will sell,” adding this likely translates into lots priced in “the $200,000s not $600,000s”.

Haworth told council that some of the road network already laid by the previous developer created lots that are unfortunately “unbuildable” given the steep slopes in the area.

“This property, the contours are all over the place. My feeling is you’d have to completely clear it out of trees tobe able to grade it for traditional single family development,” he said.

Haworth added the company hopes to begin a planning process with the CastleRock Community Association,likely some time in November.

Invermere mayor Gerry Taft said this was the first subdivision rezoning application the district had seen in awhile, and that the requested zoning change is relatively minor, essentially from one type of residential zoning to another.

Haworth also mentioned to council that Grizzly Ridge Properties plans to make an application to rezone a parcel of land just south of the District of Invermere, between Westside Road and the northwestern shore of LakeWindermere, with the intent of developing the land into five to seven acreage lots, ranging in size from 1.7 acres to six or seven acres.

The land falls outside Invermere’s boundaries and so the application will be to the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), and Howarth was simply discussing it with council to keep them informed. The development, if it goes ahead, will be a subdivision within the RDEK, serviced by a septic field and wells.

Haworth also told council that CastleRock donated a 1.25 kilometre stretch of land (4.6 acres in total) to theWestside Legacy Trail and that Grizzly Ridge Properties is in discussion with the Greenways Trail Alliance about donating land for parking and public washrooms near the start of the trail.