Councillor Dawn Potvin, District of Houston staff and the Chamber of Commerce are meeting with the owners of Houston mall mid-November to discuss investment opportunities and incentives.
District staff proposed several development options including (1) allowing two principal uses on the same property, (2) residential and commercial rental uses, (3) using parking space for building design features.
Houston council is applying for funding for a website to broadcast local businesses.
The Small Town Love program, funded by Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDI), would display local businesses on a community website for $50, with a professional photo of the business and a professionally written business profile.
BC Hydro is running a QuickStart program at the Council Chambers in Houston December 12 and 13.
“The goal is to try to prescribe within Houston, some of the best practices in managing energy,” said John Guenther, Interim Community Planner.
The program is to help council, the public and agencies update community energy objectives and needs, discuss legislation (Climate Action Charter) initiatives and help create an energy reduction plan.
Anyone interested in attending can contact John at the District of Houston office at 845-2238.
Council is committing $12,500 in their 2014 budget for zoning and land-use planning, which is 50 percent of the overall cost, with the other 50 percent covered by a Real Estate Foundation Grant.
The project will update land-use and zoning maps and fill in the gaps between the Official Community Plan (OCP), bylaws and zoning.
It will also give a buildable-lands analysis, showing the best uses of the land available for development, and an opportunities map showing where development should be focused.
It helps to show what the next stage could be for expanding services, and helps make development more predictable, said Interim Community Planner John Guenther.
“I think it’s really a worthwhile investment… It would help to leverage more development rights, it gives the property owners more understanding [of zoning decisions],” he said.
Asked what he thought, Director of Finance William Wallace said he recommended it.
“Do you feel it will help Houston market itself for investors and phase out uncertainty for anything coming in?” asked Councillor Jonathan van Barneveld.
“It won’t phase out all uncertainty, but it helps to forecast and do planning,” Guenther said.
Guenther added that it may be possible to approach the province and other sources for help with funding.
District of Houston staff are drafting a new Subdivision and Services Bylaw, updating and matching it with the Official Community Plan (OCP).