Hoping to appeal to boaters, yachters and visitors to Comox, proponents behind the Comox Bay Marina Resort development on the former site of the Edgewater Pub are working with staff to finalize their proposal for a mixed use development building.
At Wednesday’s council meeting, owner Gail Davies and architect Richard Iredale reviewed outstanding items, which planning staff identified as revisions to the mixed use development.
More than three years ago, a conditional approval was given for the 62-unit hotel/restaurant/commercial development at 1805 Beaufort Ave. and surface parking area at 1923 Beaufort Ave.
Earlier this year, Davies advised council the hotel development concept was uneconomical and a new building design would come forward with a proposal for residential uses of the property in conjunction with a smaller hotel and commercial component.
At information sessions this spring, the project was met with strong opinions as residents voiced their concerns about site views, traffic, noise and a waterfront walkway for the proposed resort, and Iredale adjusted plans based on feedback from staff and the public.
The proposal is looking for rezoning, development permit, development variance permit and floodplain exemption permit to allow a four-storey building containing a 28-room hotel, restaurant, spa and commercial spaces and 42-residential one- and two-bedroom units on the upper floors.
Davies noted Wednesday they are looking at placing the hotel on the main floor, on the south-facing side of the building.
“When the OCP was made in 2012, it specifies commercial use can only be on the main floor; there cannot be any residential on the main floor. Prior to submitting our application, we discussed and had meetings with the planning department, and we could include residential use on the main floor, but we would have to amend the OCP,” she explained.
“Since the OCP is new, we’re reluctant to ask for an amendment.”
The proposal contains 40,000 square feet of residential space on the upper floors.
Iredale addressed some of the outstanding items staff identified, including tapering of the roof, providing an on-site loading area, meeting the Town’s cul-de-sac road requirements, and ensuring there is no direct usage of Marina Park other than pedestrian access to the waterfront walkway.
Staff also noted any revisions to the proposal should include the location of hotel units within the southern, waterfront portion of the building’s top two stories prior to any resubmission of a development application.
Coun. Tom Grant said the item should be removed, as the decision where to place the hotel rooms should be up to the proponents.
“They should judge the viability of the project,” he added.
Mayor Paul Ives explained if the hotel units are not on the main floor, the project would have to apply for an OCP amendment, since the OCP calls for ground-floor commercial.
Coun. Patti Fletcher raised concerns about the overall direction of the proposal.
“The community was really clear — there was a desire to see a hotel on that property. The addition of residential is a rezoning issue. This was to be a hotel, it wasn’t to be a hotel-slash-condo unit.”
Council voted to give direction to ultimately remove the item, and it will now be up to the developer to determine where to place the hotel units.
The project would have to proceed through a rezoning process to allow for residential units.