Squamish Council Tuesday reaffirmed its opposition to land in the Squamish Business Park being used for personal services - including a bank proposed for the corner of Hwy. 99 and Industrial Way.
Council made the motion at 10:50 p.m. that night after concluding an in-camera meeting.The motion was approved unanimously, with Coun. Corinne Lonsdale not in attendance at the late-night meeting.
The council motion comes as Ed Vernon and Ammi Tepper are trying to rezone their highway frontage property at 1000 Industrial Way. Vernon and Tepper want to develop the property with a TD Bank, a Starbucks and two other commercial ventures. The developers say that if they get the rezoning the development will feature drive-through banking and drive-through coffee service. They also want to include public washrooms, public bike racks, directional signage pointing visitors to other areas of town and buildings with pitched roofs, natural rock and wood siding and upgrade the existing trail that runs along the eastern edge of the property.
The developers hosted an information meeting on Wednesday (July 7) to reveal details of the development proposal. There was a formal presentation of the concept from planning consultant Michael Rosen.
Rosen told the 14 citizens assembled at the meeting that he was there to convince anyone to support the plan, instead he wanted to offer the facts and allow those at the meeting to make up their own minds about the project.
Two members of the District of Squamish staff were on hand along with Coun. Sonja Lebans.Rosen pointed out that 45 to 50 parking spots are planned and entry to the site will be from Industrial Way at the western most point on the property. At this point, the access to the site is proposed to be right-in and right-out only. This means that anyone trying to get into the site from Queens Way would have to cross Hwy. 99 and turn around on Industrial Way to double back and enter the development through the right-in. Similarly, those who want to leave the development and get onto Hwy. 99 will have to turn right onto Industrial Way and then turn around to reach the highway.
Vernon said that he feels the proposed development for the site is the best use of the property."Something is going to happen on that site," Vernon said. He added that if council members don't approve of the plan he would be willing to sell the land to the District of Squamish if they wanted.
While council isn't specifically indicating that it opposes a bank in the business park, Vernon and Tepper wrote in a flyer distributed with last week's Chief that "The District Council does not currently support locating banks in our Business Park." The developers want council to consider the idea of a chartered bank in the business park and they are pushing for first and second reading of a rezoning bylaw.
If council gives first and second reading to a rezoning bylaw a public hearing will take place and residents will have an opportunity to voice support or opposition.
No date is set at this point for council to hear first reading of the proposed rezoning bylaw.
"We fully expect the report from staff to be negative when this goes to council," Rosen said.
Vernon and Tepper said that if the community indicates at a public hearing that it doesn't want the development, then they will abide by the wishes of the community.