An auto dealership along Bowen Road will more than double in size.
Nanaimo Honda was issued a development permit at Nanaimo city council’s most recent meeting in December.
Jeremy Holm, the city’s director of development approvals, told council that the reconstruction includes a “substantial expansion.” A city report noted that the dealership, built in the 1970s, is currently 9,700 square feet, and will grow to 24,500 square feet.
“The new building will be a more modern structure to meet the needs of Honda, and the design of the facility is largely dictated by corporate brand standards,” the report noted.
The applicant was granted two variances, a waiver of the minimum building height requirement and the elimination of one landscape buffer on the property.
The property’s community corridor zoning requires two-storey structures, but since the building will be constructed above grade and with high ceilings in the showroom, Holm said the dealership “presents as a two-storey” even if it doesn’t fully comply.
Coun. Tyler Brown said he and other members of the city’s design advisory panel discussed how corporate branding doesn’t alway align with the city’s design objectives.
“Strong corporate branding like this – car dealerships, gas stations, you can take your pick – there seems to be a lot of pushback against conforming to community design standards,” he said.
He expressed a wish that the official community plan review will impact the development permit process.
“We need to make our DP stronger so the community’s design guidelines aren’t so easily pushed back against, so we’re not implementing a lot of corporate design that [isn’t] sensitive to the type of urban design that I think our community deserves, but also wants articulated through those guidelines,” Brown said.
He said the Honda dealership’s design “really misses the mark,” but voted for it because he said it meets design guidelines. Council voted unanimously to issue the development permit.