Council backs zoning amendment

Council got behind an zoning amendment that could eventually see a storage business opened at 300 1st Avenue South.

Council got behind an zoning amendment that could eventually see a storage business opened at 300 1st Avenue South. The location is currently not zoned for that use.

Council’s decision went against the city staff recommended that it not give first reading to the zoning amendment bylaw.

The application comes from Kurt Swanson of KL Swanson Enterprise Ltd. Swanson was asking for an amendment to the zoning bylaw to add a new use — Covered self-storage including the storage of recreational vehicles and boats to the C2, Highway Commercial Zone. The request was specific to Swanson’s property at 300 1st Ave S. It is currently designated Highway Corridor Commercial in the Official Community Plan.

Swanson said the reasons behind the application are as follows:  the loss of the current tenant and difficulty of replacing said tenant with a similar business; no need for change to the building footprint; traffic disruption will not be an issue; a reduction in environmental impact; demand; market difference.

City staff noted that as the property is designated as Highway Corridor Commercial, from its perspective, the use of storage and warehousing is already permitted in the the M-1, Clean Industrial Zone, M-2, Light Industrial Zone.

“The property is designated highway commercial and also designated within a highway corridor, which has a specific use categorized for the city in the OCP, and that use is more geared towards the travelling public,” Rob Veg, the city’s Senior Community Planner, said.

He said since the use already exists in other zones, moving them around can water down the zoning.

“Now we’re looking at adding a use that already exists in the current zoning bylaw into that commercial component,” he said. “Now we start migrating some of these uses back and forth and that too some degree, from a planning perspective, I have some concerns about starting to dilute some of the zones to that stage where we’re starting to move uses back and forth. At some point we have to draw a bit of a line.”

Coun. Norma Blissett agreed with staff, noting that the amendments would stay with the property even if it were to be sold in the future.

“The idea of having RVs and large things stored there is a concern, and doesn’t seem to be an appropriate use,” Blissett said.

There was also a concern with traffic generation.

“There are a number factors from a land use perspective,” Veg said. “It’s hard for us to recommend an application that’s contrary to a policy that we have.”

Coun. Tom Shypitka said he’s sees the area as a “dead area,” and any kind of viable business that will fix it up would be good.

“From what I understand there will be a public hearing involved before this ever goes through,” Shypitka said. “Residents would have their say, businesses would have their say, and if everybody’s cool with it I think it’s a win for everybody.”

Council voted down the staff recommendation and gave first and second reading to “City of Cranbrook Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 3827, 2015.” Coun. Blissett voted in opposition.

Mayor Lee Pratt and Coun. Wes Graham were not in attendance at the meeting.