District of Squamish Council has given three readings to an amendment to the floodplain bylaw to enable underground parking.
In the previous bylaw, underground parking was prohibited below the seasonal high groundwater table. The amended bylaw will allow underground parkades and garages below the groundwater table.
However, this will be subject to the District receiving a Groundwater Management Plan that addresses groundwater issues.
According to a District report, off-street vehicle parking requirements are one of the most significant constraints to facilitating higher density.
The inability to provide underground parking creates a significant limit on development that can occur in higher density area and results in lost opportunities for desirable land uses, the report notes.
District staff discussed the issue with a hydrogeolgist and says these issues could be resolved through proper design and preparation of a Groundwater Management Plan that ensures no discharge of groundwater to the drainage system or adverse aquifer impacts.
Developers who want to create underground parking would now have to submit a plan created by a hydrogeologist in accordance with the District’s Terms of Reference that addresses groundwater issues including impacts on the groundwater table and/or neighbouring properties and on the District’s drainage system.