Back to the drawing board for Brackendale General Store project | Squamish Chief

Back to the drawing board for Brackendale General Store project

The heavily-opposed residential Squamish development was deferred approval

The residential project proposed for the Brackendale General Store land that sparked a hundreds-strong opposition earlier this year has been sent back to the drawing board.

On Nov. 3, council was debating a development permit for 1160864 B.C. Ltd., owned by Talib Jiwani.

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If the variances were granted, it would've allowed for the company to pave the way for 28 new rental units, intended to be a mix of market and moderate-income rates. There would also be two units of commercial space.

The project would be split between two new four-storey buildings and the historic Brackendale General Store building.

The General Store building would have two studio apartments, one three-bedroom apartment and 379 square metres of ground-floor commercial space.

But, in a 5-2 decision, the majority of council voted against a motion that would've approved a development permit for 41665-41707 Government Road.

Mayor Karen Elliott and councillors Armand Hurford, Doug Race, Eric Andersen and Chris Pettingill decided against the development permit.

Councillors Jenna Stoner and John French were in favour of it.

Council then voted unanimously in favour of referring the project back to staff to be reworked to their satisfaction.

Earlier this year, a sizable number of residents opposed the development, with approximately 300 signing a petition against it by early May.

They complained of parking, density and aesthetic issues, among other things.

During the Nov. 3, meeting Coun. Eric Andersen had some similar concerns.

"It seems to me that this building is too drastic for this neighbourhood, and that should prompt some very sober response," said Andersen, remarking that he didn't believe it lived up to development permit area guidelines for context and character.

It didn't reach the guidelines' standard for viewscapes and didn't sufficiently consider the character of neighbouring buildings, he added.

Noting the historical value of the General Store, Andersen also raised concerns about how the building would be incorporated into the development.

"I'm not convinced by the information put forward as to the role this heritage building has come to have in this proposal," he said. "I think serious questions have to be asked."

Elliott said she believed that the developer tried to incorporate feedback from the community quite well.

She said that rather than defeating the proposal, she'd rather give the developer a chance to reconsider some of the feedback from council.

The project has been referred back to staff, and when changes have been made, it will presumably go be back before council at a future date.

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