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City sets SHARE 39-unit workforce housing project in motion with land transfer

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
June 17th, 2020

The city’s latest major development is underway.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering in the reaches of the Heritage city, the 39-unit, workforce housing project proposed by Kootenay Christian Fellowship is moving ahead.

City council gave the project a further boost when it approved the permanent closure of the Falls Street Lane roadway and transferred the land to the KCF to be consolidated with their existing parcel at 520 Falls Street.

The transferred property allows access to KCF’s new residential development — 39 new residential units with some commercial units — and will be situated behind the existing building on the property.

“The city will be supporting the development of 39 workforce housing units which will provide much-needed reasonably priced housing, support for local business, and added vibrancy in the downtown core,” noted a city staff report.

The SHARE Housing Initiative mixed-use residential and commercial building is behind the former bowling alley and current site of the Kootenay Christian Fellowship Church (KCF).

The commercial building existing on the property includes the Kootenay Christian Fellowship, Our Daily Bread, the BC SPCA and SHARE Nelson.

The proposed new development is for 123 square metres of ground floor commercial and five stories of rental residential units, including 39 one-bedroom units with an average unit size of just over 400 square feet.

These units will provide housing opportunities for low-income singles and couples, including at risk youth and young adults, low income seniors, homeless and those at risk of homelessness.

The property is zoned C1 commercial, making the mixed-use development a permitted use in this zone. Overall the property is approximately 3,646 sq. m. in area.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $10 million and will be primarily funded by BC Housing, with a contribution expected from Columbia Basin Trust. The Kootenay Christian Fellowship is contributing $300,000 in land costs.

Closing down the Lake (Street)

The city has approved the permanent closure of a portion of the Lake Street roadway along the south property line of 502 Front Street in order to allow for that portion of the roadway to be sold.

Two years ago the businesses along the north side of the 500 block of Lake Street submitted a request to purchase a portion of the right-of-way (ROW) adjacent to their buildings.

The land had been used as free private parking for many years, with the city exploring the installation of metered parking along the north side of the 500 block of Lake Street, to match the south side of the street — which prompted the owners to initiate the right-of-way purchase application.

Last year city staff supported the option to sell a portion of the right of way if a business would be expanding their building while maintaining a two-metre strip of right-of-way (ROW) to allow for a sidewalk and streetlights in the future.

“Given the present circumstances related to covid-19, only 502 Front Street is interested in pursuing road closure and purchase of the ROW in front of their building at this time,” noted a staff report to council.

The area proposed for sale amounts to 782 square-feet.

The applicant, Chez Totoche, intends on using the land to build a permanent seating area. Residential units may be developed above the existing building in the future.

“From an urban design perspective, allowing businesses to build seating areas out to the sidewalk creates visual interest and increases pedestrian activity, which is preferable to an empty concrete space that is not well maintained or defined,” the city staff report noted.

“The city would not set a precedent that it is willing to sell public space for private parking.”

The city will retain the option of adding a sidewalk, trees and streetlights in the future to promote a pedestrian-friendly environment.

As well, the city retains the option of adding metered parallel parking on the north side of the 500 block of Lake Street.

The city does not require the land for city purposes, nor can it be developed as a separate lot.

Categories: General

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