Work has started on the site in downtown Parksville where developers say they will eventually build 62 patio homes.

Work has started on the site in downtown Parksville where developers say they will eventually build 62 patio homes.

THURSDAY SPOTLIGHT: Patio homes come to downtown Parksville

Developers of Oceana project say they will have 18-20 units ready by the end of the year

Work has started on a development many years in the making at a high-profile downtown Parksville location.

MacLean Homes is moving dirt on its Jensen Avenue six-acre property beside the Parksville Community and Conference Centre. The West Vancouver-based developer plans to build 18-20 so-called patio homes on the site by the end of the year.

“We will have homes available for the fall,” Dave Webster, spokeman for MacLean Homes, said Tuesday.

The full build-out calls for 62 units. The project is called Oceana. The units will be grouped in three or four to a building, which means up to 20 buildings could grace the site.

“We will be building to the market,” MacLean Homes spokesperson Dave Webster said Tuesday. “As they are required, we will build them. I don’t think we could build 62 units in Parksville right now and sell them in a timely fashion.”

Webster said the homes will sell for less than $400,000 and he pointed to what he said were the advantages of having multiple buildings.

“That way you get a lot more yard, a lot more corner units and a lot more windows,” he said.

Webster said the homes get their ‘patio’ moniker from the way they are laid out. There are a variety of floor plans, but all will have the living room, kitchen and master bedroom on the ground floor.

“It’s described as main-floor living.”

City of Parksville director of community planning Blaine Russell further explained the concept.

“Patio homes are ground-floor oriented,” said Russell. “They are not row houses. And certainly people with mobility challenges are happy not to have stairs.”

About two years ago,

MacLean Homes came before city council for a renewal of its development permit for the site. Many years before that, the property owners had been looking at a bigger project, but shifted to this plan after the 2008 recession.

Council originally approved a development permit in December of 2010. It was renewed in January of 2013 and was set to expire again just before the excavators started moving on the site. MacLean Homes also has a building permit for its current work on the site and the whole of their plan complies with any and all zoning requirements.

Coun. Al Greir voted against renewing the company’s development permit two years ago. He said Tuesday he is still not happy with

MacLean Homes’ plan for the site and he noted how close the company came to having its development permit expire.

“They were on the last day of their development permit so they decided to dig some holes I guess,” said Greir. “Getting started is not just a matter of digging holes . . . but they made a big enough move so they didn’t have to renew their development permit.”

Greir concedes what

MacLean is doing on the site is within the zoning guidelines, but he said he envisioned something different at such a high-profile spot.

“You want to have more density downtown,” said Greir. “That’s where there should be condos. That would have been ideal.”

According to its website, MacLean Homes’ current projects include a 77-unit condo project in Maple Ridge. It lists the $15 million, 12-storey Regatta Point project overlooking English Bay and town home developments in Kelowna, Richmond and Langley among its past projects.

“Since 1980, MacLean Homes has built a solid reputation of delivering quality-crafted, single-family, multi-family high-rise and commercial developments,” MacLean Homes states on its website. “We are a privately held, integrated development, management and construction company. MacLean Homes and its predecessor company have developed over 1,600 residential housing units throughout Western Canada valued at over $195 million.”

The company said it expects to have a sod-turning ceremony at the Oceana development in Parksville in the next couple of weeks.

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