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Developing Squamish: housing and commercial Third Ave project moves forward

Project public hearing set for March 7. The proposal has 123 residential units, commercial space and space for nonprofit housing.

More housing and businesses may be coming to Third Avenue. 

Squamish council has unanimously approved second reading for two residential and commercial rezoning applications that will now come before the public for feedback.

The two associated rezoning applications in front of council were for lots 38029, 38035 and 38045 Third Avenue and 38028, 38040, 38048, 38054 and 38062 Third Avenue, which are downtown on either side of the street near the Howe Sound Women’s Centre. 

The applicant, Taizo Yamamoto of Yamamoto Architecture Inc., is seeking approval to rezone from residential 2 to comprehensive development zones, which could then be developed into a mixed commercial and residential building.

After the passing of the second reading from council, the public hearing date was set for March 7 at 6 p.m.

“It seems to me like this project is a very good example of a developer coming to the table, a proponent coming to the table, which exceeds our CAC targets by over 40% on one of the buildings,” said Coun. Andrew Hamilton.

Furthermore, Coun. Hamilton added that the proponent’s inclusion of 3,600 square feet or 5% of the east building to be donated to a local nonprofit housing provider to own and operate was an enticing addition to the project.

These additions “are great examples of what we can do with our [Community Amenity Contributions] policies,” said Coun. Hamilton. “So with that, I’m definitely in support of this development.”

Staff said the proponent would have to enter a land development agreement which, on top of the 3,600 square foot donation, includes $894,000 cash in lieu of critical amenities, commitment to frontage improvements outside of the women’s centre as well as stormwater management and paving. 

Additionally, the agreement will have a commitment to be powered by electricity rather than natural gas and to provide right-of-way access to the public in the cut-throughs.

Between the first and second reading, District staff said the proponent revised the design according to feedback from council and broke up the massing of the building, added covered outdoor spaces on both rooftops and added midblock cut-throughs to both buildings.

The redesign did not change the number of residential units which is 123 between the two proposals or the total number of parking spaces which is 28 commercial spots and 123 residential spots plus cash in lieu. Both proposals are six storeys, with commercial space on the first floor, parking on the second storey and then four storeys of residential space.

“It has come a long way since we first saw it and appreciate the proponent’s willingness to work with us to try and find a happy medium and come in high above the CAC policy and really do something fairly novel,” said Coun. Jenna Stoner, “which is actually donate affordable housing space to another entity.”

Coun. Stoner did raise some concerns about the evolution of the downtown region, but noted that did not sway her support.

“I will continue to raise it just as a broader context piece because I think it’s important for us to consider, but I am happy to support second reading of this project,” she said.

To watch the official reading and discussion, go to the District of Squamish’s YouTube page.


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