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Zoning bylaws amendments proposed for 40-unit residential complex in Prince Rupert

Type of housing unknown for proposed five-story building next to golf course & middle school
Schematic image of a proposed 40-unit apartment building slated for 9th Ave. West may look like. (Image: supplied)

A new 40-unit housing development proposed for 9th Ave. West is the subject of a zoning bylaw amendment application discussed at the regular city council meeting on May 24, but it is unknown what type of housing it will be.

The five-story building endeavour is suggested for eight lots of land being sold by the City of Prince Rupert at the corners of Lisa Walters Drive and 9th Ave. West, in front of Prince Rupert Middle School, next to the golf course.

The first and second readings of the zoning bylaw amendment 3507-2023 were passed by council and the matter was set down for a public hearing. If approved by the council, after public feedback, the zoning amendments would allow a change from R2 and P1 designations of Duplex and Two Family Residential to RM5 Multiple Family Residential. The process also includes a building height variation.

Director of Development Services, Myfannwy Pope, stated in a written report to council that while the R5 designation allows buildings up to 36 metres in height, the proposed bylaw amendment would limit the construction to 21 meters to avoid impacts on viewscapes for neighbouring properties. The schematic drawing plans indicate the building would be 18 meters.

Pope stated impacts on the neighbourhood from the increased population density might be noticed but are not likely to change the character of the surroundings significantly, which include existing multifamily dwellings such as townhomes across the street, apartments on McBride and Digby Towers nearby.

“Traffic in the area may increase due to the new density. This will be mitigated by the developer providing the required number of parking spaces, which is one per unit, to ensure there is a minimal increase in street parking,” Pope wrote.

“Due to the nature of the multifamily housing, there is a higher likelihood that tenants own one or fewer vehicles and may use their vehicles less due to the walkability of the neighbourhood.”

The property plans indicate there will be 42 parking stalls.

“The developer will be required to demonstrate how they will mitigate any negative consequences of the increased traffic flow at the development permit stage,” the city planner stated.

A December 2022 City of Prince Rupert housing needs assessment identified more than 2550 market rate new housing units will be required in the city by 2030. Also noted were two gaps in the “housing eco-system” as accommodations for singles and for seniors. Pope said both of these needs would be served by the proposed development.

It’s noted in her report that housing is a concern to industry.

“If there is not housing available that meets the needs of new workers to service industry expansion, industry will have a very difficult time expanding. The proposed housing development may serve individuals moving to the community for work,” Pope stated. “Consequently, this proposal permitting higher density will help serve much-needed demand for housing in the community.”

However, when Councillor Barry Cunningham asked during the meeting who the developer was and what type of housing was intended, City Manager Rob Buchan stated, “Mr. Brown,” was the developer and it was unknown if the housing would be rentals or units for homeowner purchase.

The public notification sign erected on the property states the zoning amendment application was submitted by NorthStar Prince Rupert Limited Partnership.

The report presented to council reads, “the proponent intends to buy the [land] at market price,” but does not specify what that rate is or what the total sale amount would be. According to the B.C. Assessment website, the value of lots one to four is $39,600 each. There are no values listed for lots five to seven, as they could not be found on the BC Assessment site.

Schematic image of a proposed 40-unit apartment building slated for 9th Ave. West may look like. (Image: supplied)