Recent results of a public information and hearing on a proposed commercial and residential mix development near Qualicum Beach downtown area have prompted council to delay third reading and adoption of the zoning amendment for the project.
Naked Naturals Whole Foods Ltd., which bought the former Bus Garage property located at 111 Fourth Ave. for $2.75 million, has a pending application for a zoning amendment to allow development of a commercial food store on the ground floor and nine residential rental units above, as well as surface and underground parking.
Council wanted to address the zoning amendment first at its regular meeting on Dec. 7, with the intention of dealing with the development permit application next year.
Staff recommended council proceed with third reading and adoption of the zoning amendment from institutional to commercial, which is the zoning for most of the remaining land in the uptown area. But after hearing all the concerns raised at the public information meeting held on Dec. 7, which drew 38 participants, and the public hearing on the zoning amendment on Dec. 8, council did not move to address the staff recommendation.
Most of the comments centered on noise that would come from delivery trucks, lack of parking, traffic and not enought details on the design of the proposed building.
Director of planning Luke Sales did confirm to council the owners of the store already have plan to mitigate the anticipated noise. There will be no night deliveries and most will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Coun. Robert Filmer suggested before council proceed with the zoning amendment they should wait for the outcome of the second public information meeting, organized by the developer, scheduled to take place on Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. via Zoom. He said they can deliberate on the zoning amendment again in January. Council agreed.
Mayor Brian Wiese said inevitably council will need to amend the land use of the proposed development site.
Coun. Teunis Westbroek said if they received fewer comments during the public hearing he would be in favour of giving the zoning amendment third reading.
“We had a lot of comments and well sought out comments,” said Westbroek. “And the one that I picked up the most on other than parking was people would like to see the rest of the property and what they could be used for. And what are the plans we have for rest of the property adjacent to the site that we’re considering today. At this point, I am not prepared to proceed.”
Coun. Anne Skipsey wants to see what the overall picture would look like, not only for the development site but also for the other nearby properties.
“There’s going to be a lot of traffic so I think it’s going to be important for the town to do some kind of traffic study for our commercial core,” said Skipsey.