An artist rendering of a proposed five-storey, 32-unit residential building and café restaurant at 930 Terminal Ave., according to planning documents available on the city’s website. (Joyce Reid Troost Architecture image)

Nanaimo council issues permit for mixed-use building on Terminal Avenue

29-unit residential building and café restaurant planned at 930 Terminal Ave.

A proposed mixed-use development along Terminal Avenue is moving forward.

Nanaimo city councillors at their Jan. 13 meeting voted unanimously to issue a development permit for a proposed a five-storey, 29-unit residential building and café restaurant at 930 Terminal Ave., next to the Colonial Motel and Cypress Glen Apartments.

Submitted by Joyce Reid Troost Architecture on behalf of Red Hare Realty Development, the proposed development will have 11 one-bedroom units, 18 two-bedroom units, three three-bedroom live-work townhouse units and a 2,000-square-foot ground-floor café restaurant with an outdoor patio located at the corner of Terminal Avenue and Cypress Street.

A rooftop garden and club room for residents, underground parking and bike parking are also included in the development.

Joyce Reid Troost Architecture requested a number of variances – which were granted as a result of council’s decision to issue the development permit – including increasing the maximum allowable percentage of small car spaces from 40 per cent to 45 per cent and reducing the front yard setback from 5.5 metres to 3.6 metres.

During the Jan. 13 meeting, Troost told councillors the goal of the building’s design was to take advantage of the mountain and water views. She also said the building’s designed in such a way that it uses the property’s physical attributes, such as a downward-facing slope, to its advantage.

“The intention of the design was to embrace the slope and mask the parking behind it so it has little impact on what you see from the street,” Troost said.

RELATED: Mixed-use development proposed along Nanaimo’s Terminal Avenue

She said the project will add a lot of value to a “very walkable” neighbourhood and said the intention behind the live-work townhouse units is to “engage” the community.

“It is consistent with what is happening along Terminal Avenue, you’ll see a lot of small businesses located in single-family homes,” she said. “The idea was to provide a similar opportunity for people living in the community.”

Coun. Tyler Brown, who is on the city’s design advisory panel, said members of the panel were “quite excited” about the project, “and I think the tweaks since then just make this truly a wonderful building.”

Meanwhile, Coun. Armstrong said she was very concerned about traffic coming and going from the development and onto an “already busy road.”

The proposed building at 930 Terminal Ave. has a floor area ratio of 1.49, which exceeds what is allowed under the city’s current zoning bylaws. However, Troost was able to obtain additional density without having to go through rezoning by providing amenities including educational signage, water-saving plumbing features and street trees and on-site tree planting.

Coun. Don Bonner said he’s supportive of the project, but expressed concerns about how the development was able to obtain additional density and hopes the criteria will change.

“We’ve given additional density, and I don’t have a problem with that, but the way it’s been got according to this criteria has basically boiled down to putting up two signs…” he said. “Hopefully, sometime in the near future, we will have an opportunity to go over [the criteria] because I think they are a bit dated.” 
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