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New development proposed for corner of Hall & Front Street

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
August 26th, 2018

The city’s newest development is preparing to be built at the city’s busiest corner as the vacant lot at 205 Hall Street is undergoing rezoning.

Culos Development is applying to rezone the parcel of land next to the Nelson aquatic centre from institutional to core commercial in order to develop a four-storey mixed-used building with commercial and residential at grade (three storeys of residential above).

The $10.25-million project includes four commercial units at grade (259 square metres) with 38 residential units — including six two-story townhomes, 22 two-bedroom and 10 one-bedroom units.

The homes will be mid-level market housing with the goal of being 20 per cent more energy efficient than conventional construction.

The project will fill a need in the city in more ways than one, said city manager of Development Services, Pam Mierau.

“Specifically, this vacant site was identified as contributing to a significant gap in the street wall and poor connectivity for pedestrians,” she said in her report to council.

“This project provides for a vibrant commercial and residential development in the downtown, including a strong commercial street front character and a significant housing development that will strengthen the downtown core.”

The city passed first and second reading on the rezone and now a public hearing will be scheduled (to be determined).

Parking will be an issue on the lot but 65 stalls have been proposed, with one level of parking underground and some surface level parking, all accessed off of Hall Street.
Mierau told council a traffic study showed an average of 17 extra trips in the morning as a result of the development, with up to 31 in the afternoon, not enough to cause further disruption of traffic.

Approvals in place

The development has been vetted through several government agencies already and has met approval.

The application was presented to the city’s advisory planning committee on July 18 and comments from the APC members were generally positive.

Culos held an open house at the Hume Hotel on Thursday, June 14 about the development. The presentation included proposed building elevations and preliminary plans.

The application was also referred to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), Fortis, Nelson Hydro, City of Nelson Public Works and Nelson Fire and Rescue Services.

Nelson Hydro indicated that they will need a one metre wide space along Front Street for street lighting.

The regional district’s community complex is requesting an emergency and pool servicing access onto Highway 3A at the shared property line, to function as a pedestrian connection from the existing parking lot/stairs servicing the community complex.

“MOTI will allow this access if it is done with a roll-over curb, posted ‘emergency access only’ and has flairs to direct pedestrian traffic to the sidewalk. No crosswalk would be considered at this location.”

A permit application will be required to be submitted and approved by MOTI for the emergency access.

— Source: City of Nelson

A long time coming

In November 2016 the public sale of the property was offered up pending several conditions:

  • Completion of an OCP amendment and rezone of the site to C1;
  • Development of the site as mixed-use with commercial at grade and residential above (minimum 30 units);
  • Registration of a covenant that ensures the property is developed on terms acceptable to the city, within a period not to exceed five years from the date of completion; and
  • Completion of legal survey and registration of the plan with the Land Title Office.

Six months later the city accepted an offer from Culos Development (1996) Inc. — the sales value of the land is $960,000 — to purchase the property.

One of the conditions of the offer was that Culos Development successfully complete an OCP amendment and rezone of the site.

Proceeds of the sale of municipal land must be placed in a reserve fund.

— Source: City of Nelson

Turn to make a change

Two changes have to be made in the zoning for the property for it to be developed:

  1. Decrease the rear setback from 1.5 m. to 0 m. Although there is a rear lane adjacent to the subject property, it is on private property (regional district), therefore the 1.5 m. rear setback is required. “The impact of this change will be minimal as the proposed development is located forward on the site immediately adjacent to the front property line (adjacent to Front Street), and provides for a substantial rear setback (ranges from eight m. – 12.8 m.) via the location of the drive aisle and parking stalls located behind the building between the proposed development and the rear property line.”
  2. Decrease in interior side setback from three m. to 1.8 m. Although there is a rear lane adjacent to the subject property, it is on private property (regional district), therefore the three m. interior side setback is required. There is request for a reduction to 1.8 m. “The impact of this change will be minimal as this setback is adjacent to the west elevation of the pool (NDCC), which has two emergency exits. As well, this proposal includes landscaping of the setback as well as the provision of a rooftop deck and garden on the second level adjacent to the NDCC stairs that will enhance the area for the NDCC.”

— Source: City of Nelson

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