Squamish council members gave a small duplex the go-ahead after a brief public hearing on the matter.
On Sept. 5, Squamish council members voted unanimously to issue a development variance permit and development permit to a parcel of land near Howe Sound Secondary at 38474 Carson Place.
A three-storey, two-unit residential building is proposed on the lot, including four variances to typical development regulations that intend to minimize its impact as the lot is “located almost entirely within the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA) or riparian setback,” according to the District of Squamish report about the property.
The District held a public hearing on the variances and only heard from the proponent, former local municipal councillor Paul Lalli.
“There's been no concern from the neighbourhood with respect to issues,” said Lalli, a sentiment that was also repeated by District staff.
Lalli added he has worked with third-party companies to finalize environmental reports and assessments.
The variances relate to frontage setback, altering parking and driveway length, and allowing the two upper stories to be larger than the first floor in an effort to minimize the ground-level footprint.
“This proposal provides an excellent balance between streamside protection on a disturbed site and the construction of two more much-needed housing units for our community,” said Coun. John French.
French noted that this lot has sat empty since the 1980s when a restaurant on the property called the Cottonwood Inn was destroyed by a fire.
During the proceedings, Coun. Chris Pettingill added a small amendment that was unanimously approved, which mostly clarified and ensured the property has a no gas covenant.
“Hearing staff’s explanation and that we expect actually a net increase in functioning [in the] SPEA area gives me comfort that what's being proposed here makes sense, especially in the context of a housing crisis,” said Pettingill.
“This is a creative solution to a very constrained lot,” said Mayor Armand Hurford about the property. “It's centrally located and the variances that are being sought here won't really differ from … the neighbourhood character.”
“I'm happy to support this and I do think that having some homes there will actually offer some further control to an area that has sort of been sitting vacant,” he continued.
Read more about the property through the District’s report from council’s Sept. 5 agenda at squamish.ca.