Cranbrook City Council adopted the required OCP and Zoning Amendment Bylaws on Wednesday to allow for a proposed 292-unit rental complex along Innes Avenue to proceed, should the project’s development permit be approved.
The Innes Avenue Development would see the construction of 292 rental units on a 10-acre plot of land at 804 Innes Avenue in two phases. The development would feature four 63-unit apartment buildings and 10 four-plex buildings, along with a central amenity park with a fenced garden, children’s playground, and dedicated space for dogs.
A topic of much debate over the past number of weeks the developer and owner, Broadstreet Properties and Seymour Pacific Development Ltd., held a Neighbourhood Open House on February 5, 2020, at T.M. Roberts School prior to Wednesday’s Public Hearing.
Members of the public filled Cranbrook City Council Chambers for the Public Hearing on the bylaws to voice a range of concerns. Many of the public members were worried about busy and unsafe traffic along Innes Avenue and the lack of a sidewalk, which they said are already major issues, let alone with the prospect of the development. Other concerns were raised about the proposed development only having one entrance and exit, not enough parking on the property, and significant concerns about storm sewer drainage and the potential for flooding.
The majority of Cranbrook City Council said that a lot of the concerns raised by residents would be addressed at the next stage of the process, where the developer would apply for its building permits and need to meet the BC Building Code regulations, among other governing bodies.
“We’re hoping that all of these issues will be caught and discussed during the development permitting because we don’t want to put undue hardship on neighbours or look at things that create safety hazards,” said Councillor Wesley Graham. “Stormwater is definitely something that I flagged even prior to this as well as the sidewalk along Innes.”
“I’m in favour of this proposal,” Councillor Ron Popoff told Council Wednesday. “I think when we finally go through the building permit application process, the issues of sidewalks and curbs and getting rid of the ditches and traffic studies and improving the road network and the drainage issues and everything else that we’ve talked about – and thank you (the public) for identifying all of those things in your letters – those will be addressed.”
Among the concerns from the general public, Chris Johns, School District 5 Trustee noted the school board’s worries about the development impacting staffing strains at T.M. Roberts Elementary, Gordon Terrace Elementary, and Parkland Middle Schools, as all three are in the catchment area. Johns said the influx of new students to the area would also potentially force SD5 to look at the realignment of the catchment zones to balance the student population across Cranbrook.
Cranbrook City Council received the feedback from the public but the majority felt the potential project was of significant importance to addressing the City’s housing crisis and its 0.8% vacancy rate.
“The decisions we make are supposed to be in the best interest of the community overall at-large and sometimes, you know what, there is some people that maybe they feel it’s not in their best interest,” said Councillor Wayne Price. “We’ve been told over the last year numerous times by people from the Province, by people in the community that we have a housing crisis.”
“We haven’t had a development of this nature in Cranbrook probably since the 70s when they had the last big building boom,” added Councillor John Hudak. “The fact that we have somebody that has come in with some outside knowledge with a lot of credibility, not only on Vancouver Island but throughout western Canada, and I think that we have somebody here who will bring a quality product to the table should everything be approved.”
“I understand that people are worried when you have change, because it is a big change,” said Councillor Norma Blissett. “I really feel quite strongly as a member of Council that it is the best thing for our City and it will be good for everyone in the long run. I understand there is concerns that it has to be done right and we have to do it right if it goes ahead and that is on the City to make sure of that.”
The OCP Amendment Bylaw changed the 10-acre plot of land from “Low Density Residential” to “Medium Density Residential”, while the Zoning Amendment Bylaw changed the designation from “Residential Transition Zone” (RT) to “Comprehensive Development Zone 11” (CD-11 Apartment – Townhouse).
More: 804 Innes Avenue Bylaw Amendments (City of Cranbrook)
Kris Mailman, COO and Executive Vice President of Seymour Pacific Development spoke to the proposed development at the Public Hearing, noting that they want to build the best product as they will be managing the rental units after their construction.
“We’re family-owned and operated and we take pride in our properties and we keep them to a no-deferred maintenance standard, it’s how we manage it. If somebody moves in and stains the carpet, we replace the carpet, we don’t just cut out a little chunk, we keep our properties to a very high standard because we’re in it for the long run.”
“They are for the masses so we market this to anyone, be it a professional, be it a student, be it a retiree, some moving down, some moving up,” added Maiman.
Broadstreet Properties and Seymour Pacific Development are responsible for the Traffic Impact Study, which is being finalized through preliminary hearings, while Mailman said services like sewer, water, and stormwater will all require upgrades during development, which will be outlined in the following building permit and engineering processes.
All of Cranbrook City Council voted in favour of the OCP and Zoning Amendment Bylaws, except for Councillor Mike Peabody, who felt the privacy of neighbouring properties would be impacted by the apartments should they be constructed.
“Yes we definitely need housing, we do have a crisis on our hands, but what are we sacrificing to get this? We have families that have lived there for many years that are now, you know, their privacy in general, in my opinion, is being lost,” Peabody told Council. “I believe Medium Density in this area, it makes sense, but I think it makes sense if its townhouses or four-plexes or duplexes. To put four-storey apartment buildings across the street from single family residential homes, that does not make sense to me.”
Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt voted in favour of the project alongside Councillors Blissett, Graham, Hudak, Popoff, and Price. Pratt noted that developments like this are of significant importance to Cranbrook’s growth and the ability to attract investment and increase tax revenues.
“If we’re going to maintain the services in Cranbrook that we provide to our residents today, we need more revenue and the way we’re going to get revenue is by increasing the housing and increasing the economic development,” said Pratt. “When I talked to people about coming here, moving their businesses here, the first thing they ask is where are my people going to live and we don’t have an answer for them so they’re not going to come here.”
The City of Cranbrook said infrastructure improvements to Innes Avenue such as the sidewalks, curbs, road widening, stormwater would all be budgeted and brought back to Council for approval, with the DCC (Development Cost Charges) funds helping with those costs to the City.
With the approval of the bylaws, the proposed development now enters the building permit stage where the developer will apply and need to comply with Provinical and Municipal regulations before being allowed to break ground on the project.
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