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Rental housing project in downtown Sechelt gets revised third reading

Changes to setbacks and building heights made for Shorncliffe Avenue development
South East View of the proposed development from Shorncliffe Avenue.

A development proposing two apartment buildings with a total of 109 residential rental units at 5535 Shorncliffe Avenue received an amended third reading at Sechelt council’s March 6 regular meeting.

Genaris Properties Ltd.’s development previously received a third reading on Oct. 4, however, the applicants and staff have since decided that changes to property line setbacks and building heights are needed.

The proposal received a conditional development permit at the district's Feb. 21 meeting.

The design of the development’s access road from Shorncliffe has also been realigned to protect mature trees on and adjacent to the nearby Rockwood Centre property.  

Ian Holl, development planning manager, explained that since the public hearing for this development was already held, the legislation in place does not allow for changes to land use or density. He clarified that the changes to property line setback and building height will not change the land use or density in any way. 

Coun. Adam Shepherd voiced his support, saying “I'm still of the belief that we really need this project to proceed.”

Mayor John Henderson asked if the raised height will impact the shadowing of the building. 

Holl explained that after the applicants recalculated the building heights, they found one of the buildings was higher based on the grade calculation. He said that the height increased from 17.5 metres to 20 and that this should not have a significant impact on shadowing. 

Coun Darren Inkster asked about the proposed parking against the property line on Shorncliffe Avenue noting that it is public property.  

Holl answered the parking will be constructed as part of the frontage works along Shorncliffe Avenue as part of the development and clarified that these will be public parking spaces. 

Coun. Dianne McLauchlan said she would have liked to see the area be used as an “institutional precinct,” noting how steep the area is and that it will be challenging to build on.

Henderson asked if the district needed Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure approval on every zoning amendment. Holl explained it only applies to properties within 800 metres of controlled access highway intersections, which applies to many of the district's properties but not all of them.  

Inkster said that while he liked the design of the building, his issue was with access to the development, citing the volume of foot traffic the area sees from kids and community members.

Council voted to give third reading as amended to Zoning Amendment Bylaw 580-06, 2023 with McLauchlan and Inkster opposed. Coun. Alton Toth was absent from the meeting. 

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.