More homes, less parking spots: That is what Vancouver developers wants from Squamish council, and climate change is coming in handy for this ask. Bosa-Kingswood want council to approve 442 more homes than were earlier approved for their SeaANDSky development on Highway 99. The development is located at the former Interfor mill site, across from Downtown Squamish, on the east side of Mamquam Blind Channel.
They also want a reduction in number of parking spaces, and climate change is one among the reasons Bosa-Kingwood Properties is citing as they ask council for fewer parking spots than are required. While the bylaw requires 200 parking spaces, the developer wants to provide only 131 parking spaces.
The developers note that among the District’s Community Climate Action Plan objective is to “shift beyond the car,” with the intention of doubling the number of trips made by actives modes and transit.
“Creating a large supply of new parking, whether in the downtown commercial zone, or within the SEAandSKY site, could significantly undermine this Community Climate Action Plan objective. Arguably even the proposed 131 stall public parking supply is counter to this objective but considerably less so than the 200 spaces required in the CD-40 Bylaw,” says their traffic study.
Along with the reduction from 200 spaces to 136 parking spaces on street, the developer also want council to approve reduced parking for townhomes units in the development. Developers also cites the 2017 Downtown Parking Study, which identified no major parking demand issues for the downtown commercial zone.
The revised proposal by Bosa-Kingswood for more homes and less parking was discussed at a Committee of the Whole meeting on July 11. Coun. Eric Anderson cautioned about using the 2017 parking study to rationalise reduced parking. “I think that’s a very controversial topic and ongoing one, we’re still learning, we’re still making observations, and so is the public. So, I would be careful about accepting the interpretation of that six-year-old study,” he said.
While staff supports parking reductions, they note that parking for marine use access was not considered in the development. “Staff have noted that the marine use parking has not been considered in CD 40 (approved zoning) and staff also want to see sufficient public water access and marine use parking,” planner Kerry Hamilton told council. “We want to make sure that it’s thought of in this development and parking is provided adequately and it doesn’t become a nuisance to the neighborhood and the existing residence there.”
Mayor Armand Hurford also expressed his concerns with on-street parking reductions and lack of marine use parking. “I was wondering about the marine use parking and I think it is quite important. I think this is going to be a destination for our community and we’ve heard from our community that they’re hungry for water access and justifiably, so it’s been really challenging,” he said.
Coun. Andrew Hamilton said if there is reduced parking, then it’s critical to have better transit. “I do have challenges with the two bedroom and three-bedroom townhouse. I think the apartments make sense, but I think that two bedroom townhouse going to 1.65 spaces per unit, is challenging. I prefer the two parking spaces per unit, particularly for that form,” he said.
Coun. Lauren Greenlaw said she would like to see a more detailed assessment of the public marine parking as it strikes her insufficient. She was also not in favor of the decreased parking spaces for the two and three bedroom units. The developers will now consider council feedback and come back to council on a later date with a revised project.