Housing and programming coordinator for the Campbell River Head Injury Society Jennifer Kay, along with executive director Shelley Howard, celebrate the purchase of the property two doors down from their offices at the corner of 9th and Dogwood last year. The lot which will soon be home to Linda’s Place – a 27-unit apartment complex named after Howard’s Mother. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

City of Campbell River issues development permit for Linda’s Place

Complex will have some units for society’s clients, the rest capped at 90 per cent of market value

The Campbell River Head Injury Support Society’s 27-unit apartment complex has received final development approval from the city.

Linda’s Place, as the complex will be named, will be made up of bachelor, one- and two-bedroom apartments and have at least 10 units set aside for clients of the society with the rest being made available to go into the city’s rental stock – at a discount, as there was a condition placed on the zoning bylaw amendment for the property last September that the units in the complex would be capped at 90 per cent of market value.

The report to council recommending the approval of the development permit says the city’s rental vacancy is at 0.6 per cent (as of November 2017, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation), and this project should help that situation by delivering “timely affordable housing units, particularly for those with special needs. The development is thus considered aligned with housing affordability objectives of the OCP that supports the development of affordable and supportive housing, particularly for more vulnerable city residents.”

It comes at a cost, however.

The city had already issued a grant-in-lieu to the society for its land use application fees in the amount of $23,000, and at Monday’s meeting, council decided to fund the Development Cost Charges of the project, as well, bringing the total investment by the city up to $91,000.

But the staff report says its a small price to pay for the benefit being achieved.

“The housing developer is a non-profit society that provides support for head injury victims and also opportunities for low-income working families to purchase affordable housing,” the report says, adding, “the proposed development is well designed and provides much-needed affordable housing to Campbell River. It is located adjacent to downtown in an area well suited to higher densities.”

The development did need a few variances approved before it could get the go-ahead, however, including a parking requirement variance “of a significant magnitude.”

Normally, a development of this size would require 40 off-street parking stalls – 35 for the residents of the 27 units and another five for visitor parking. The Head Injury Society was asking to create only 15 in total.

The request was justified, however, according to city staff, because with a minimum of 10 units set aside for clients of the society, “who typically don’t drive,” and the others being designated as affordable housing units for those on moderate incomes, “a group where vehicle ownership is typically more limited,” along with the availability of on-street parking along 9th avenue and proximity of the development to major transit routes, it was decided the variance made sense.

Coun. Larry Samson, however, was concerned not only about the parking stall situation, but also the fact that the parking lot for the building will only be accessible from the alley between 9th Avenue and L’École Phoenix Middle School.

His concern was that cars exiting the complex will either need to merge onto Dogwood Street near the intersection with 9th Avenue – which already has the second-highest rate of traffic incidents in the city – or go all the way along the Phoenix property and out to 7th Avenue. He thinks people will decide to instead cut through other private properties and parking lots as a third option, as it will be most convenient.

In the end, however, the development permit was approved, with Samson opposed, and staff were directed to look into creating a right-in, right-out designation at the entrance to the alleyway where it meets Dogwood Street.