Amendment will help add more rental housing

Council gave first reading to an amendment that will allow the CMHAK to provide additional low-cost rental housing.

  • Jul. 27, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Arne Petryshen

Cranbrook City Council gave first reading to a proposed amendment that will allow the Canadian Mental Health Association Kootenays (CMHAK) to provide additional low-cost rental housing.

The amendment is to the Official Community Plan and was put forward by Janice Ivan, executive director of CMHAK, on behalf of the property owner, Provincial Rental Housing Corporation.

If the proposed amendment is approved, it would enable land use re-designation and consideration of rezoning of the property to provide additional low-cost rental housing and supportive services within the existing Sonja’s Garden neighbourhood.

The property is at 1000 21st Avenue North.

The amendment would change the property from Medium Density Residential to Park/Institutional/Recreation. City staff would then proceed with public consultation on the proposed OCP amendment.

“The existing site development and use is a residential townhouse and duplex-style development, providing low-cost family rental housing, which is managed by CMHAK,” wrote city staff. “The project was developed in 1997 with BC Housing Funding and at the time space was allocated in the site plan (December 13, 1996) for two additional buildings, however, they were not developed at the time due to limited funding.”

There is now a renewed interest in continuing the project, and re-designation of the property will enable consideration of rezoning — specifically a new Comprehensive Development (CD-6) Zone.

City staff explained that the proposed CD-6 Zone would include adding two new buildings, and a total of 18 one bedroom apartment style units. In addition, the proposed renovation/ modification of three existing buildings would allow CMHAK social services program and administrative spaces to occupy approximately 15 per cent of the site. CMHAK stated that would allow them to improve operations and delivery of services to clients who live on-site as well as within the surrounding area.

“The proposed land use designation of Park/Institutional/Recreation, is compatible with the surrounding land designations,” city staff wrote in the report. “To the north, east and south the subject property abuts on to Core Commercial and Medium Density Residential to the east.”

City staff also noted that the site promotes walking, since it is near a commercial shopping area and is serviced by BC Transit routes, that provide frequent stops connecting Sonja Garden residents with the rest of the city.

They also noted that accessibility and alternative mobility options was an important consideration, since many current residents and clients do not have access to private vehicle transportation.

A parking assessment was conducted by city staff in May which found that of the existing 69 parking spaces, only 22 were taken up at peak times. The average for mornings, afternoons, evenings and peak periods was 14 parking space in use. Staff observation of the site also confirms a low to medium occupancy rate of existing on-site parking.

Due to the way the parking lot is being used, the applicant has proposed a modified allocation of parking spaces, adding only three for the new units.

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