The owner of a prime commercial property in Parksville wants to build something different.
“We want to try to get away from strip mall development,” explained architect Raymond de Beeld who described their proposal as a “mixed urban village.”
The commercial/retail units would be more internally and pedestrian oriented, rather than just stores facing the highway explained de Beeld.
While there would be some signs and windows facing the streets, most of the activity would be towards the parking lot in the middle of the property.
The 0.8 hectare (2 acre) property on the corner of Stanford Avenue and Island Highway East is owned by Bruce Alexander who owns Parksville Chrysler across the street.
The proposed development would include three commercial buildings of one and two stories and a four story residential building with 27 units plus commercial on the ground floor and underground residential parking.
Alexander explained that while he wants to build the residences as strata titled, he intends to rent them initially and possibly indefinitely, but wants the option to sell them, which would be much easier if they start as strata.
The development would require an official community plan (OCP) amendment from commercial and industrial (two properties) to commercial/multi-residence and the zoning changed to comprehensive development to allow for the possibility of a bank.
The proposal calls for a total of 119 parking spaces which is 14 less than required by the zoning, but de Beeld said that people would live and work in the development or walk from near bye, meaning less need for parking.
The developer will pay for the design and construction of the south leg of Shelly Road and Island Highway East intersection, including a new traffic signal and contribute $16,000 towards the rest of the traffic light cost.
Most of council appeared very supportive but had some concerns about its distance from downtown (1.7 km from city hall Alexander pointed out) and being located adjacent to agricultural land reserve property.
With mayor Chris Burger and coun. Marc Lefebvre excusing themselves for a possible conflict, and coun. Sue Powell absent, the remaining four voted unanimously to forward the item on from the committee of the whole to their regular meeting, on July 16.