Onni Group is a step closer to beginning construction on the Colwood Corners site, after council approved its request for a parking variance and agreed to relax bylaws widely seen as out of date.
A staff report stated that the City’s current parking bylaws are higher than the industry standard for suburban and commercial development, and ignore access to other forms of transportation and the effects of a viable shared parking system.
Onni’s plan calls for 485 rental apartment units and approximately 14,000 square metres of ground floor commercial and office space.
Current bylaws would require 779 residential spaces, 673 commercial and another 68 spots for office, restaurant and drive-thru use.
Onni gained permission to create 631 residential, 409 commercial and 58 “other” spaces.
The variance was granted on the condition that 25 per cent of the residential spaces are serviced with an external power source for electric vehicles.
At Monday’s meeting, Coun. Rob Martin wondered aloud whether the variance would lead to a parking crunch that would see spillover onto public roads. While staff have confidence in a parking study done for the area and believe Onni has done its due diligence, planning director Iain Bourhill admitted spillover parking could become a problem in future.
“We think the applicant has done a sufficient job at showing that there won’t be an inordinate impact to the neighbourhood, but I expect there will be some growing pains as with any development of this scale and scope,” he noted.
Onni also requested an update to the existing development agreement which would see its green roofs on three to six-storey buildings become inaccessible to residents. Onni has expressed to Colwood staff that accessible green roofs require increased structural loads that have proven to be complicated in previous projects.
A children’s play area and increased landscaping and pedestrian connections will be added to compensate for the loss of outdoor space on the roofs.