Comox council asked to bend on rules for housing

The proponents behind a proposed senior development aiming to provide affordable housing options for those over 55 asked Comox council Wednesday to consider their requests for relaxation on fees and expedited rezoning.

Jennifer Shanks from Vista Housing Society explained in a presentation during the committee of the whole meeting, the non-profit society is looking to expand into Comox with their proposed Morgan Heights development at 2240 Comox Ave.

"We are proposing to create 74 self-contained rental units in a four-storey building, with 38 units being affordable and 36 units will be at market rental rates," she said.

The "self-sustaining" facility would be managed by Vista, which manages affordable housing developments in other municipalities across Vancouver Island, Shanks noted.

Although the proposal has yet to apply for a rezoning application, Shanks asked council to consider a partnership between the society and the Town, which would include assistance in rezoning the 1.6-acre property and to reduce the rezoning fees and processing time.

"Vista Housing would be willing to enter into a housing agreement with the town and we request a 100-per-cent relaxation of DCCs (development cost charges) and relaxation on property taxes for a period of time," she noted.

She added that over the past three years, more than 120 units of affordable housing have been brought to market.

Coun. Ken Grant inquired what the rental rates might be for the unit.

Shanks explained rents would be between $650 to $810 for the affordable units, and $860 to $960 for the market value units, with some two-bedroom suites priced between $1,050 to $1,200.

They estimate the total price of the project around $10.4 million.

Shanks added council should expect a rezoning application within the next few weeks.


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