A drawing of the proposed facade on Dunsmuir Avenue. Image, Village of Cumberland report

Cumberland rejects parking variance for proposed building

Council agrees to other variance for height change in mixed-use building

Cumberland’s council has, in part, approved variances for a proposed 14-unit mixed-use building on Dunsmuir Avenue.

The developer of the proposal for the empty lot downtown had asked the Village for both heritage alteration and development variance permits. The property is located at 2700 Dunsmuir Ave., between the liquor store and the Waverley Hotel.

The site is in the historic core of the Village, so it requires a heritage alteration permit to make sure new development fits with the downtown heritage character.

The development variance permit request covers a reduction of the ceiling height on the ground floor of the building from 4.2m to 3.7m, as well as a reduction of parking spaces. According to the zoning bylaw, the owner, Citta Holdings Ltd., would be required to have 16 parking spaces but is providing nine and will have to come up with cash-in-lieu for the remaining seven spots that cannot be provided on site. The variance application specifically asked to reduce the cash-in-lieu amount for seven spaces down to four spaces.

Staff did not support the variance to reduce the parking commitment, senior planner Karin Albert told council at a meeting in late November. In the end, council followed staff recommendations for the variances, including turning down the part of the request to reduce the cash-in-lieu for reduced parking spaces.

Coun. Sean Sullivan had questions on details such as whether laundry would be provided at the building, the sign and a possible mural on the building, and space in current lane-ways near the site. He cited a recent example of a large fence that had been torn down near the location.

“There’s definitely some issues that have to be taken care of back there with the size of the trucks,” he said. “This is definitely going to exacerbate that.”

RELATED: Cumberland multi-use development given the go-ahead despite parking concerns

Coun. Jesse Ketler said she liked the look of the building, the amount of bike parking planned and storage space. She also brought up the idea of the appearance of exterior walls and touched on the parking issue, saying she did not support the variance for parking.

“This currently is a parking lot,” she said. “It [the proposed building] will definitely increase parking issues in the area.”

Council also raised questions about electric vehicle parking and the accessibility and affordability of the micro-units slated for the top floor of the building.

The plan for the building is to have commercial on the main floor, with two units of retail, business or personal services space. The top three floors will have 14 residential units, including six one-bedroom units, four two-bedroom units and four micro-units on the top level.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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