District of Squamish officials sent a five-storey, 42-unit development proposal for Garibaldi Estates back to the drawing board last week.
Proponents were seeking to build the complex on a 1.59-acre lot at 40708 Olson Rd., one kilometre northwest of Garibaldi Village. The property is zoned rural residential, but the proposal requires a comprehensive development zoning — increasing the area’s density significantly, district staff told councillors at their July 3 meeting.
Such density is supposed to be concentrated in the community’s downtown core, Coun. Ted Prior said. If council allowed the project to go ahead, it could set a precedent for the lots south of the proposal, he warned.
Prior said he wished he had seen the plans a year ago, when it was originally brought to the municipality, so he could have saved the developers time.
“Something like this, to me, sticks out like a sore thumb,” he said.
The proposal’s community amenities package isn’t adequate, Coun. Ron Sander said. For the rezoning and subsequent property value lift, the proponent offered an easement providing north-south pedestrian connectivity on the east side of the lot. The project’s garden area would be open to the public and one studio suite would be restricted to sell at 80 per cent of market value via a covenant on the title, expiring after 15 years.
In the past the district hasn’t accepted built, market-restricted units as contributions to the municipality’s Housing Reserve Fund because it doesn’t have the manpower to manage them, staff noted in the development services report.
Based on the district’s 2007 formula for calculating cash-in-lieu contributions, the amount dedicated to the affordable housing fund for the proposed 42-unit development would be $184,296. Municipal staff noted there may be a “significant” value gap between the recommended cash-in-lieu and the applicant’s proposal.
Mayor Kirkham reiterated Sander’s concern.
“There is no community amenity there at all,” he said.
Although council has expressed a strong desire to boost economic development, projects have to fit with what the district is trying to accomplish in the community, Kirkham said.
Council voted to ignore the first reading motion and ask the applicant to rework the proposal and bring it back to the district at a future date.