Cranbrook City Council unanimously supported bylaw amendments on Monday to allow for the redevelopment of an existing housing lot, that would provide 40 affordable rental units.
The Aqanttanam Housing Society currently operates the existing two-story, 18 townhouse unit development at 2220 2nd Street South. Meiklejohn Architects Inc. applied to the City on behalf of the Aqanttanam Housing Society to change the land use designation from “Medium-Density Residential” to “High-Density Residential” and the zoning designation from “Low-Density Multiple Family Residential Zone: R-4” to “High-Density Multiple Family Residential Zone: R-6”.
While the existing development was built in 1973, Aqanttanam noted the three-building housing complex is in poor operating condition and is requiring costly repairs and upgrades for electrical and plumbing since they took over the site in 2008. After looking at their various options, they applied for the Official Community Plan (OCP) and Zoning Amendment Bylaws so they could redevelop the property into the four-storey 40-unit complex. The units would be rented to low-income families who apply to Aqanttanam, and their rent prices would be based on their current income level.
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Cranbrook City Council hosted a Public Hearing on Monday for the proposed amendments. Residents were able to attend the Public Hearing by video from the Heritage Inn. Several neighbouring residents spoke up in opposition to the project.
“Seniors in their sunset years may not be able to enjoy the sunset,” said one concerned resident, who feels the building’s four-storey height will block their sightlines and views. Another shared similar sentiments, saying she would lose her view as she lives across the street from the current complex.
Residents spoke to privacy concerns with the building’s height and some of the unit being able to see into neighbouring yards and windows. There was a call to have security fencing around the property as well as a look into the increased amount of traffic that the 40-unit building would add to 2nd Street South with the Fire Department and East Kootenay Regional Hospital nearby.
One nearby resident spoke up to say they “welcome it in my backyard” and that they support the Aqanttanam Housing Society and what they are doing for the low-income population in Cranbrook by providing them with an updated place to live.
The Aqanttanam Housing Society spoke at the Public Hearing as well. They said fencing will be investigated to help lower disturbance. As well, they believe parking will be sufficient as per the bylaw requirements. They said they “wish we could satisfy everyone” but that they will attempt to do just that.
MORE: 2220 – 2nd Street South OCP and Zoning Amendment Bylaws (City of Cranbrook)
All of Cranbrook City Council was in support of the housing redevelopment.
Councillor Wayne Price noted the residents’ concerns for security, traffic, and a potential right hand turning lane on 2nd Street South. Councillor Mike Peabody said the project perfectly fills a priority need in Cranbrook from their recent Housing Needs Report, which was also submitted for information at Monday’s Council meeting. Councillor Wes Graham suggested the City look at their BC Transit routes and potentially look at having nearby stops to mitigate some of the traffic concerns.
Councillor Ron Popoff said the Aqanttanam Housing Society has a good reputation in the community and that the development is exactly the kind of housing needed in Cranbrook. Councillor Norma Blissett was also in favour, supporting increasing development on existing lots. She said it is an efficient use of current land space and meets housing needs within the community.
Given third reading and adoption, the bylaws were unanimously passed. The project will now move into the development stage with City of Cranbrook staff as Aqanttanam intends to apply for a Development Permit and a Development Variance to meet parking requirements on the site for the new four-storey development.