City of Powell River Council has given approvals for a development known as Joyce Commons to proceed.
At the March 19 city council meeting, councillors voted to approve variances for the properties at 4747 and 4753 Joyce Avenue, and a development permit to facilitate the construction of the facility.
The initiative came from the City of Powell River’s committee of the whole, which reviewed the new property development for Joyce Avenue that will combine commercial and residential uses.
Manager of planning services Jason Gow outlined the Joyce Commons development during the March 3 committee of the whole meeting.
Gow said a rezoning application had come to council in October 2018. The two properties, located just north of the First Credit Union building, were single family residential zoned properties and they were rezoned to a comprehensive development zone, which is a mix of multi-family residential and commercial use. The commercial uses are not intended to create heavy volumes of traffic and are geared to providing live-work opportunities in the proposed units that front Joyce, according to Gow.
He added that the driving force behind having a commercial appearance fronting Joyce was largely the city’s planning department, and the reason behind this is the city wants to maintain the commercial appearance along Joyce, as it is one of the city’s premier commercial precincts.
Gow said the proposed commercial development is a two-storey building with a flat roof and large storefront-style windows. The buildings are right out to the road dedication on Joyce.
“It’s intentional because what we are trying to do is connect the pedestrians to the storefront so we are not getting parking in front of the commercial fronts,” said Gow.
What is proposed for the property behind the commercial fronts is 14 small one- and two-bedroom units that are ground-oriented.
“They don’t have stairs and are easily accessible from the access lane in the development,” said Gow.
There will also be eight second-storey units, so in total this development is proposing 22 residential units, said Gow. The residential units will use a gabled roof with some articulation to indicate the units below, said Gow. The exterior materials used will be largely fibre-cement, so it will be hardie plank panel siding with some West Coast materiality, such as Douglas fir post and beam construction.
The ground floor units have a semi-private patio space and there is also a communal gathering area, said Gow.
Councillor George Doubt said it was an interesting style of housing. He said he didn’t think there were a lot of similar developments available in the community. He asked a question of the developers in the audience about whether the development was intended to be residential rental housing, and if it is, whether it would qualify for affordable rental housing.
Developer Al Austin said the properties would be rented at market value.
Gow said the developers are applying for two variances. The first is tied to the north property. He said there is a required three-metre setback adjacent to a residential property. The applicant is proposing a 1.8-metre setback. The second variance is tied to the lot coverage. Gow said the maximum coverage in the zone is 40 per cent of the lot and the proponent is requesting the coverage be increased to 45 per cent.
Councillor Cindy Elliott asked if there would be restrictions on how the traffic would flow around the development.
“There’s a lot of pedestrians and a lot of traffic on Joyce Avenue,” said Elliott. “I’m concerned about people getting hurt there.”
Gow said there is a bigger initiative to look at the Joyce Avenue corridor that the city’s engineering department is currently working on.
Councillor CaroleAnn Leishman said she wanted to thank the proponent for thinking outside of the box.
“It’s the type of development that we are lacking,” said Leishman. “This is a really great way of providing rental housing and I love the mixed use.”