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Parking questions as School Road apartments head for public hearing

Town of Gibsons passed first and second readings for 16 strata apartments at the corner of O'Shea and School Road. A public hearing will be held July 26.
757 School Road
Artist concept for 16 unit strata apartment development at 757 School Road

A Zoning Bylaw amendment for a 16-unit strata apartment building on School Road was given first and second readings at the Town of Gibsons July 12 regular council meeting

The amendment changes the residential zoned lot at 757 School Road to multi-family residential and reduces the number of on-site parking spaces required of the development from 24 to 18. 

The sticking point on this development is the tension between having enough parking and reducing parking capacity in light of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

Coun. Aleria Ladwig was the sole vote against the bylaw, which she had also voted against at a committee of the whole two weeks earlier. At the committee meeting she said that the parking density is too high for that spot. “There’s already a lot of pressure and lack of parking in that area,” she had said. 

The proponent would pay a community amenity contribution of $70,000 to go toward the affordable housing reserve fund and the community amenity fund.

While voting to move the amendment on to public hearing, Coun. Annemarie De Andrade and Mayor Bill Beamish spoke to the need for more study of parking, for this development and the rest of the town. 

“I would like a study that really looks at our reality, our issues,” said DeAndrade. “We are a longitudinal community. We need cars, because transportation is not necessarily available all the time.”

“We are simply always compromising our parking bylaw for projects now,” said Beamish. “There seem to be competing parking studies that come to different conclusions about parking. And so I would ultimately like to see us review our parking bylaw and our requirements in the zoning.”

Coun. Stafford Lumley was not in attendance. 

A virtual public hearing for the draft bylaws was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. July 26.