Changes proposed for innovative Courtenay housing

Changes to plans for a mixed commercial and residential development

in Courtenay's downtown core were presented Monday to council.

The proposal for Tessitura Flats — a recording studio and a live performance venue with a cafe and residential units  — was approved for a development permit in June. It would be located at 534 Cumberland Rd.near the school board office and fire hall.

However, on Monday Eirah Unger came back to present council with updated plans for Tessitura Flats, which would now consist of 14 housing units instead of 13, andsix live/work units instead of five.

On the third floor, one of the two proposed retail spaces and a residential unit would become the additional live/work space. The mezzanine, (studio balcony), would bereplaced with two residential units.

"If we reduced the size of that studio (balcony) we were more likely to be able to populate rather than have this cavernous space," explained Unger. "We thought by increasingthe density it would improve our numbers."

Also, the washrooms would be located on the ground floor instead of the second floor, which Ungersaid is more accessible for people at live performances.

While the building would not physically change in height, it would now be considered five stories instead of four, as a mezzanine is nottechnically considered a floor.

A couple of additional parking stalls would be also added to accommodate the extra residential units.

The development would still be oriented around a central courtyard, and the live performance space would still be the central feature of theproject.

Mayor Larry Jangula said he expects support for the proposed changes.

"It's basically just retinkering a bit on an item that we passed," said Jangula. "You're doing something that we want you to do, which isdensify the downtown area."

Council unanimously passed a motion to give notice to adjacent property owners and return the application to council Feb. 6.

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