Council approved the next step in a rezoning application for the proposed Lorne Hotel, accepting revised design drawings based on a recent public open house and granted second reading on the project.
The approval makes way for a public hearing in the new year.
Town planner Marvin Kamenz told council during a presentation that submissions from the public following an open house on Nov. 26 were mixed.
He said the main areas of concern were the character of the building; design of the building (lack of architectural detailing); mass of the building (height); on-site parking adequacy and sound attenuation for residential units above the pub.
The main positives in the submissions were moving forward with the vitalization of the downtown area; redevelopment of the ‘Lorne’ site as a pub and restaurant; provision of additional informal public space and additional residence downtown.
In response to the areas of concern brought up at the open house, revised drawings have been submitted, explained Kamenz.
The revisions include emphasis on the Comox Avenue and Port Augusta Street corner as the main focal point and primary entrance of the building; consistency of the awning and canopy treatments; replacement of planters with nautical elements which double as public seating; increased pedestrian accessibility, emplacement of patio wall with marine-themed post and railing; heritage/nautical onsite lighting fixtures; a historical Lorne Hotel mural and heritage-style posts and balcony railings, reflective of the original Lorne building design and marine theme.
Coun. Hugh MacKinnon said he was pleased public input was looked into and the developer took some interest in the feedback.
“It validates why we had a public meeting,” he added.
While Coun. Barbara Price noted she does have concerns with the design, she will support hearing more feedback at the public hearing.
At this time there is no date set for the public hearing as the town’s planning department is waiting on revised drawings, but Mayor Paul Ives noted it is likely to be in January or February.
• • •
In order to improve service to Rogers Wireless customers around the Comox Valley Airport and CFB Comox, Comox council approved a permit last week for a Rogers telecommunications tower off Knight Road.
The tower would be on industrial land and approximately 30 to 40 metres southeast of the existing Telus tower, explained Matthew McDonagh of Standard Land Company, working on behalf of Rogers.
The tower would be approximately three to four metres higher than the Telus tower and would “have fairly low impact.”
The design would replicate the existing colour, and could be painted a variety of colours in order to blend in with its surroundings.
Coun. Hugh MacKinnon inquired if rates would increase for customers if the tower is installed.
“I’m not in a position to answer, but I wouldn’t see that happening,” said McDonagh. “It’s strictly to maintain service to the region.”
Coun. Russ Arnott asked what the impact might be for birds, particularly eagles who might nest on the tower.
McDonagh said the avian impact should be minimal, as the Telus tower has not faced any issues.