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Squamish considers first net-zero mixed-use residential building

A public hearing is scheduled for the proposed environmentally-friendly development.
DOS37799 and 37781 Second Avenue.
On Feb. 1, council voted unanimously in favour of giving two readings to a rezoning application for a project proposed for 37799 and 37781 Second Avenue.

What may be the first net-zero emissions mixed-use apartment building in Squamish has taken a significant step forward.

A proposal for a new four-storey residential mixed-use building downtown has advanced to public hearing.

On Feb. 1, council voted unanimously in favour of giving two readings to a rezoning application for a project proposed for 37799 and 37781 Second Avenue.

"One of the [things] that this development does is show the community and council that a net-zero mixed-use building is possible, so I think it sets a bar for other people," said Mayor Karen Elliott.

"I think it helps set expectations a little bit higher for what we can look for in mixed-use developments to address [the] climate emergency."

The proponent, ReGen Homes Ltd., is seeking to rezone the light industrial I-1 land to a creative mixed-use district MUD-2 zone.

This would allow the creation of a facility with 12 one-bedroom units, four two-bedroom units and four three-bedroom residential units. This would make up a total of 20 residential units, all on the third and fourth floors.

Four of the units — two one-bedroom, a two-bedroom, and a three-bedroom — will be secured as market rental.

Along with the residential units comes 244 square metres — or 2,622 square feet — of employment space on the ground floor.

There is an additional 360 square metres, or 3,874 square feet, of employment space on the second floor. On that same floor, there will also be 270 square metres — 2,920 square feet — of outdoor amenity space.

About $202,500 has been proposed for community amenity contribution payments and electric vehicle chargers for residential parking stalls, rainwater reuse systems, and public art.

Twenty parking stalls, one space per dwelling, would be supplied. For non-residential parts of the building, there would be an additional five spaces.

Cash would be provided in lieu of an extra seven parking spaces.

Elected officials were largely supportive of the development.

"This is an interesting proposal and it's also ticking a lot of boxes for me," said Coun. Armand Hurford.

Staff recommended giving the proposal first reading only, but Hurford proposed two readings instead.

"The combination of commercial spaces and residential spaces, I think this will really contribute to all of our goals we have as a community," he said.

Coun. Doug Race said he was excited about the prospect of creating Squamish's first net-zero mixed residential building.

"When I think of this area, I think this is the kind of land use...we want to encourage," he said.

Coun. John French said he supported the idea, and said he was looking forward to the feedback from those close to the proposed development.

Coun. Eric Andersen said the project could be a "potential reference" for others, as it "sets the pace in a number of different spheres."

The project is set for public hearing on March 15, in council chambers at Municipal Hall. It will take place at 6 p.m. in-person and online.








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