An artist’s rendering of Phase 2 of a development in the 6000 block of McRobb Avenue, for a six-storey, 88-unit residential building. (D-Architecture image)

An artist’s rendering of Phase 2 of a development in the 6000 block of McRobb Avenue, for a six-storey, 88-unit residential building. (D-Architecture image)

City OKs additional height for north Nanaimo apartment building

Building on McRobb Avenue will have 88 rental units

Nanaimo city council granted a height variance and a development permit so that planning can continue for a six-storey apartment building in the north end.

Council, at a meeting May 16, voted unanimously to issue the development permit for an 88-unit apartment building at 6330 McRobb Ave.

The building is Phase 2 of Dover Ridge Apartments, following the completion of a 50-unit Phase 1 building in 2016.

The new building is slated to include five three-bedroom suites, 30 two-bedroom apartments, 35 one-bedroom apartments and 18 studio units. Plans call for 45 new underground parking spaces and 22 surface parking stalls, which together with the Phase 1 parking will exceed the 140 required parking spots on the property.

“Quite an attractive building style, obviously reflective of the existing building…” said Jeremy Holm, the city’s director of development approvals. “[There are] design elements to draw the focal point to the fifth storey and diminish the sixth storey … It comes through strongly.”

The developer, Camargue Properties, noted in its application that it is not seeking additional density and the extra height allows a smaller building footprint to allow for more natural stormwater retention and green space on the site. It noted that the building’s height will also provide “a gradual transition” from four-storey buildings in the area to an adjacent property on McRobb that could be home to a future high-rise.

“The easiest and less costly option for us would be to not ask for a height variance and proceed with a four-storey, large, monolithic structure that pushes to the maximum site coverage and increases adjacent shadowing,” wrote Robin Kelley, Camargue’s managing partner. “Upon reviewing options, speaking with some of the neighbours, as well as some high-level discussions with the municipality, we felt that the site would be better served via a building that has a reduced footprint with a bit of additional height.”

The variance increases the maximum building height from 14 metres to 19.6m. Both city staff and the city’s design advisory panel recommended support for the variance.

Coun. Jim Turley said a lack of available housing “casts a shadow” on Nanaimo and its ability to attract workers.

“I’m all in favour of variances like this if it brings us more housing,” he said.

READ ALSO: City of Nanaimo gets glimpse at next phase of apartments on McRobb

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