Residential propety

Squamish’s Hunter Place residential and commercial project passes third reading

The five-building complex cleared all of the most significant hurdles to approval.

A major development proposal at Hunter Place has received third reading, meaning the project has cleared the biggest hurdle to rezoning.

On March 1, a public hearing was held in the council chamber, where some residents expressed their concerns.

Subsequently, council deliberated on the matter and subsequently voted unanimously to give third reading a rezoning application for 1100, 1120 and 1140 Hunter Place, just behind Nesters Market.

The developer, Hunter Place Developments, which is led by Paul and Mike Bosa, is separate from Bosa Properties and not part of the Bosa development family.

At stake is a proposal to turn commercial and light industrial land divided into C-4 and I-1 zones into a CD-99, or comprehensive development zone.

If the proposed rezoning becomes a reality, it would pave the way for the creation of a five-building complex – each building six stories tall – that would include a mix of condominium units and employment spaces for the area.

There would be 5,895 square meters – 63,461 square feet – of retail space.

It would be accompanied by 274 residential parking lots and 121 commercial parking lots. Finally, there would be nearly 600 parking spaces for bicycles.

During the meeting, only a handful of people spoke in person or remotely by phone or web conference.

One owned the east end of Pemberton Avenue.

Allan Barr, whose business is in this area, expressed concern about how the development would interface with neighboring properties on Pemberton Avenue.

Barr said it was difficult for vehicles as large as a pickup truck to turn around at the end of this road.

“Commercial transport vehicles come down … and they don’t know they’re in trouble until they get up and cross the tracks,” Barr said. “And then they realize, ‘Oh my God, what are we going to do now?’ and they can’t back down.”

He said these vehicles eventually need help to turn around, which can lead to blockages that can last up to an hour.

“It only takes one person to shut down this whole community; the whole neighborhood shuts down with this,” Barr said.

He requested that a third reading condition include the condition of a connector between Hunter Place and Pemberton Avenue.

Peter Gordon of Cascadia Consulting spoke about the issues highlighted by Barr. He also pleaded for a connection between the two streets.

“We do not intend to hinder development or thwart it in any way. But we believe that we must be part of [of] the [land development agreement] process,” Gordon said.

He referred to a written submission he sent to council, which requested that the land development agreement require the developer to grant the District of Squamish a registered two-way public access road right-of-way on their land from Hunter Place to Pemberton Avenue.

Gordon’s written submission also requested that the agreement include a requirement for the developer to ensure there is continuous and unimpeded vehicular access for other landowners on Pemberton Avenue during construction, among other things. .

However, in a staff report, city bureaucrats said a new road from Hunter Place to Pemberton Avenue was not needed.

“The development of Hunter Place can be designed to mitigate its impact on Pemberton Avenue by ensuring that all three phases of development can access and exit Hunter Place exclusively,” the report states. “Staff are confident that this development will not result in the need for an alternative connection. Any consideration of alternative access is outside the scope of this application and would require council to reverse this rezoning and negotiate a land acquisition to pursue an alternative connection.”

Another intervenor at the hearing asked why the proposed daycare was being pushed back until the final stages of construction.

He noted that it would take years for parents who moved after the completion of the first phase to have child care in that area.

Staff and council said pushing the daycare to later stages of development would allow for a daycare three times the size of what is required by the Community Care Act.

There were also 16 pages of written correspondence regarding the project attached to the council agenda, with a number of writers expressing concern about how the development would affect the area.

One submission, from Bob Brant, requested that no approval for any of these lot projects be given until a district-wide traffic master plan is completed.

However, not all comments expressed concern.

One submission, from Bruce Jung, spoke in favor of the development.

“I live in Squamish and commute between my home in the Highlands and Vancouver for work,” he wrote. “I want to show my support as a local resident for this project. I am traveling to Vancouver to support my family because there is just a lack of office space here in our community. I see so many benefits for our local economy, less travel, and spending time with my own family if there was more office space available for small business owners like me.”

All board members expressed their support for the project.

Com. Eric Andersen voted in favor of the project, but noted that the municipality should pay attention to Barr’s comments.

“I support language or terms, provisions, in the service agreement to address construction management issues that will arise with respect to access for neighbors,” Andersen said. “And I’m sure staff have heard this issue, but we need some security here and maybe some language can be crafted into this service agreement.”

Com. Chris Pettingill said he was particularly pleased with the gas-free convention, which he said would help tackle climate change.

Support was also provided by the Con. John French, who praised the developer’s cooperation during the process.

“It provides us with another much-needed child care space as well as some additional housing units that will be priced appropriately for early childhood educators and those in entry-level jobs,” French said. “It also contributes to the goal of making the city center accessible on foot and by bike.”

Mayor Karen Elliott also supported the project, but noted the challenges facing neighboring properties.

“I’m aware that we potentially have signage and work to potentially deal with the neighbor to the east for short-term encroachment issues,” Elliott said.

“There’s no reason why we can’t go out there and see what we can do to improve this situation.”