By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 7, 2012
It’s the right type of building in a wrong kind of place.
That is the crux of the argument that Squamish councillors put forward to defer first reading to the proposed multi-unit apartment building on Olson Road.
A majority of the councillors felt the Olson Road residential development would have been a good fit for downtown Squamish, but not for where it is being proposed.
Official Community Plan and Smart Growth requirements call for higher density downtown, but the proposed development is near Leski’s Crossing, at the border of Brackendale.
The amenity package also failed to impress the councillors.
“Look at the building, it’s a beautiful building, but it’s in the wrong place” said Councillor Ted Prior.
Coun. Ron Sander was the voice of dissent.
He said even though OCP might call for a denser residential building downtown, it doesn’t mean land away from downtown can’t be developed.
Coun Susan Chappelle said the proposed development didn’t achieve any sustainability goals and feared that it would lead to more traffic in the area.
She said the building was out of character with the neighbourhood.
“This is problematic and will certainly impact the neighbourhood,” she said.
The applicants first submitted the proposal for a townhouse development in May last year, but it morphed into a condo development.
The proposal now calls for a five-storey apartment building consisting of four levels of wood framed construction over one level of partially concealed parking.
The condo subdivision, tentatively called Leski’s Crossing, is situated just off of Government Road, north of Leski’s crossing, near the Rivers Walk townhomes.
The property is bordered to the north and south by private lots, to the east by Highway 99, and to the west by Olson Road.
The lot is currently occupied by a single family home, on which the proponents plan to develop a multi-family residence.
Unsurprisingly, the project was opposed by Thomas Barnard, who lives on a single-family lot next door.
At the council meeting on July 3, the amenity package offered by the developer also received a lukewarm response.
The amenity contribution offered by the applicant as part of this rezoning consists of:
- An easement providing north‐south pedestrian connectivity on the east side of the property (to be used in the future if a connecting trail is built)
- Public access to the garden area
- One studio suite restricted to sell at 80 per cent of market price via a covenant on title expiring after fifteen years.
Staff noted that cash‐in‐lieu contribution for the proposed 42-unit development on Olson Road would be $184, 296.
Given the lift in land value that will occur because of the rezoning, staff felt there should be further negotiations to arrive at an affordable housing contribution.
Mayor Kirkham said it should be conveyed to the developer that council has serious reservations with the proposal.
Counc. Heintzman said she would encourage the developer to come back with a different proposal with a different housing form.