Campbell River city council passed third reading of a bylaw for a 60-unit apartment building at 2221 Dalton Road in Willow Point — but is requiring the developer build additional sidewalks to address traffic safety concerns.
Because the property was rezoned in 2005 to the city’s residential zone for medium and high-rise buildings, allowing for 75 units per hectare, a 37-unit building could be applied for at the site without any zoning changes. But as the developer, WestUrban Developments Ltd., intends to build a 60-unit apartment building, a bylaw for a site-specific zoning modification to increase the property’s maximum allowable density was required.
On July 12, city council approved the third reading of this bylaw, in a 5-1 vote, with Coun. Ron Kerr voting opposed. But per the motion, final adoption of the bylaw is dependent on the registration of a restrictive covenant on the property’s land title, requiring extended frontage improvements (i.e., sidewalks).
Typically, a developer is only responsible for frontage improvements bordering their property, explained Megan Norman, senior development planner with the city, during the meeting.
But under this arrangement, the developer is required to build an approximately 115-metre sidewalk starting from the property and extending along Westgate Road to an existing sidewalk near North Island Highway. A painted crosswalk is also to be installed at the eastern point of the intersection of Westgate Road and Dalton Road.
These requirements could address the concerns of some residents opposing the project that increased traffic from the building, combined with a lack of sidewalk along the east side of Westgate Road, would result in traffic safety concerns for pedestrians.
The bylaw will be brought back for adoption once these conditions are satisfied.
City staff recommended to deny the application because the proposal does not match the neighbourhood policies of the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP). But the site’s rezoning predates this plan — and all of the councillor’s tenures, noted Coun. Claire Moglove.
The developer previously said that without the density increase, the building’s units would be sold, rather than rented. Given this and the site’s zoning, council’s decision was between a larger, six-story building composed of three-bedroom condos versus a smaller, five-story building composed of smaller rental units, said Moglove. This latter option will help provide the type of housing needed in Campbell River, she added.
Coun. Sean Smyth said he would support the bylaw because of the project’s contribution to the local rental market, citing more quantity as the only tool to fight high rental prices.
As the property was rezoned in 2005, it should not be a surprise to both incumbent homeowners or new buyers in the area that a multi-story residential development would eventually proceed at the site, said Mayor Andy Adams.