A developer is asking the city to more than double the number of bedrooms in a mixed-use student housing project planned to go across the street from the university.
City council, at a meeting Monday, Oct. 18, voted unanimously to allow a covenant amendment application to proceed to the public hearing stage.
Island West Coast Developments, on behalf of a numbered company, is applying to increase the number of student-housing beds for a planned project at 416 Wakesiah Ave. from 44 to 117.
Jeremy Holm, the City of Nanaimo’s director of development approvals, said the applicant’s request is supported by apparent demand, and noted that the site was re-zoned in 2016 and the housing-agreement covenant was registered at that time.
“They’ve taken another look at the property, a look at the demand in the area for student-housing beds and re-designed,” Holm said.
He noted that the city’s changes to the parking bylaw in 2018, which eases parking requirements for student housing, especially in close proximity to Vancouver Island University, may have been a factor in the applicant’s project re-design.
Concept plans are for a four-storey building with three ground-floor commercial units. The 117 bedrooms would be distributed among 44 apartments, and concept plans show studio apartments and two- and four-bedroom suites. An underground parking level can accommodate all required parking.
A $22,000 community amenity contribution would go to parks, recreation and culture in the neighbourhood.
Staff recommended the covenant amendment proceed to the public hearing stage, noting that the proposal meets the intent of the official community plan and the objectives of the Harewood Neighbourhood Plan and fits with the city’s affordable housing strategy and transportation master plan goals.