Scott Crescent development clears next hurdle

Council passes rezoning proposal for old motel site of project in the works for 12 years

The Scott Crescent development is back and it is bigger.

After a public hearing Tuesday night, council passed third reading of a bylaw amendment to rezone the last piece in the developer's waterfront housing puzzle.

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The proposed development on the upper reaches of the Mamquam Blind Channel has a 12-year history in Squamish.

Since its latest iteration in 2014, developer Kingswood Crescent Developments acquired the additional half-acre property at 1606 Scott Crescent to complete the planned housing community.

This final rezoning adds 10 more units to the 425 apartments and townhouses already approved.

With the added rezoned property, the plan also includes close to 10,000 square metres of commercial space, and a requirement for four lock-off suites (suites within townhouses) as well as a pedestrian bridge, public amenity area and an extended trail, according to Kerry Hamilton, District planner.

Several people spoke in favour of the proposal Tuesday night, including representatives from the developers, Squamish Trail Society and members of the community who said the development will create quality housing, a public amenity space and increased trail access. 

There were some who voiced concerns.

Eric Andersen, Squamish forestry consultant, said there were three heritage aspects within "metres of the property," and the archaeological assessment was incorrect and lacked information. Andersen also said he hoped there was no delay on the pedestrian footbridge.  "Ten years is a long wait trying to address these safety issues," he said, suggesting a steel staircase for a steep hill on Scott Crescent.

Brian Vincent, resident of Clarke Drive, said nearly every household in the neighborhood signed a letter in 2014 urging a stop to the development. More units will mean more traffic, he said, also expressing concern for the development's impact on wildlife.

Other Clarke Drive residents echoed traffic concerns such as limited school access and lack of sidewalks.

Coun. Karen Elliott questioned staff about the archaelogical proposals and whether four lock-off units was enough to address affordable housing. Coun. Susan Chapelle asked staff about public school access and traffic concerns like adequate parking, also noting the District needs an appropriate policy to address housing needs.

"If there are significant archaeological values, there will be a way to secure them," staff responded.

The Clarke Drive intersection will undergo improvements and the pedestrian bridge would be built in Phase One of development, staff added.

"It's unfortunate there isn't a commitment to affordable housing in perpetuity," Mayor Patricia Heintzman said, adding purpose-built housing creates a secure rental pool and that's lacking right now. "It's interesting to look at what was approved three and a half years ago," she said. "It makes you realize that you miss the boat sometimes when you're rezoning things."

That said, Heintzman said the proposal could not be re-tooled and noted the overall benefit of the community. 

The third reading passed with Coun. Elliott opposed.

A development permit application will shortly follow, a staff report stated.

Kingswood owns Scott Crescent Development and is a partner in Waterfront Landing.

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The original plan and the latest addition.

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