Pod hotel for downtown Squamish goes back to drawing board | Squamish Chief

Pod hotel for downtown Squamish goes back to drawing board

Politicians generally supportive of idea, but wanted zoning and parking concerns addressed

A proposed pod hotel for the downtown area will have to wait at least a little bit longer before gaining traction at municipal hall.

On July 21, council decided in a 6-1 vote to send a rezoning application for the hotel back to staff for further review.

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Staff recommended giving it two readings and scheduling a public hearing, but elected officials — with the exception of Coun. Chris Pettingill, the sole dissenting vote — had issues with the proposal and declined to give it a reading.

Pettingill said he was in favour of giving the project first reading and then making adjustments to it in subsequent readings.

The project is hoping to bring a 48-room pod hotel with a ground-floor restaurant to 37773 Cleveland Avenue.

Pod, or capsule hotels, were first developed in Japan as a way to provide cheap, basic overnight accommodation for people on a budget.

The rooms are often small bed-sized pods — hence the name.

For a development of this size, 15 parking stalls are required, but the proponent was offering to provide seven on site and pay cash lieu for eight commercial stalls.

A blueprint attached to a District staff report lists Rodney Wilson as the owner.

The rezoning would've turned the property from a I-3 general industrial zone to a MUD-3, mixed-use district 3 zone.

One of the major issues that came up had to do with parking and the proposed rezoning.

"I think we do have to take issue with the parking simply because there's no plan for 48 units and where these people are going to park in the short term," said Mayor Karen Elliott.

Elliott also said she did not like having a hotel drive a MUD-3 rezoning.

She also said she did not support height bonuses associated with that zoning. Ceiling height increases were intended to enable a wider range of employment use, such as buildings that would have light industrial uses on the bottom floor and a makers' space at the top, Elliott said.

However, hotels don't need higher ceilings for the upper stories, she said.

Rezoning the property to a CD, or comprehensive development zone would be more suitable, Elliott said.

Generally speaking, council was supportive of the idea of a pod hotel, but elected officials said this proposal  needed more work.

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