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New apartments proposed in Parksville

New Parksville development takes its first baby steps Monday night

Parksville council supported the first step for a proposed 30-unit apartment building, which will require rezoning and an official community plan (OCP) amendment.

The proposed four story building would be on three currently treed residential lots beside the Dogwood Apartments, across from the Quality Resort Bayside.

There would be 15 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom units, including four townhouse-style units on the ground floor with their own garages and street access and six affordable units.

Under the city’s affordable housing bylaw they must meet the housing needs of a household with 80 per cent of the median Parksville income, meaning a current maximum rent of $965 per month.

They would be affordable units for a minimum 15 years and would be exempt from Development Cost Charges, worth around $85,000.

The project requires combining the three lots, rezoning to comprehensive development, a relaxation of the 11 metre height to 13.26 metres and decreased parking from 45 to 38 spaces.

The staff report is favourable, pointing out it is a logical spot for densification, close to downtown, which appears to have been overlooked in previous OCP planning.

“A multifamily residential development at this location would contribute to the overall OCP goals of developing a compact, easily walkable and sustainable community. As well, the inclusion of affordable housing units is consistent with the affordable housing provisions of the plan,” the report says.

It adds the building would bring in an estimated $500,000 to $1.1 million more in property tax than current uses over its expected 50 year life.

The building would be up against the required setbacks on Dogwood Street, providing a wider buffer between it and the neighbours behind.

While traffic has been identified as an issue in that part of the city, a 2009 Boulevard Transportation study found the additional building wouldn’t have much impact, adding a maximum of 16 cars per hour at peak times.

The proponents had offered $10,000 towards a traffic signal at Highway 19A, but since there are no plans to do that and signals are being considered on other nearby streets, they instead plan extra sidewalk work including 95m across the property plus 60m to the highway.

Because the project will need an OCP amendment to extend the development permit area, residents will have more opportunity to address form, character, landscaping and parking than in a standard development application.

Five of six councillors present voted to send the application to the OCP and zoning amendment process which will include public consultation, at a date to be determined.