Nakusp council, July 12: Village okays variances to lakeshore development

·5 min read

The first publicly accessible meeting of council in many months took place in July, as councillors and staff gathered in the community centre gym for council’s regular meeting.

Development proposal

The proposed development at 88 Nelson Avenue got the approvals for development variances and the development permit it was seeking.

The project, being developed by James Zeleznik, is a 14-residential, two-commercial unit complex near the marina downtown.

After Zeleznik submitted his development plans, staff determined that additional variances were required to conform to the zoning bylaw, a report to council stated.

At the last council meeting, Acting CAO Linda Tynan outlined problems and deficiencies in the approval process for the project, and noted she was preparing the paperwork for variances in size and setbacks requested, and to firm up other aspects of the development agreements.

A request for public input on the proposed variances heard just one complaint.

“Someone told me this development reminds them of a typical 1970s apartment block in Prince George,” wrote neighbour Janet Spicer. “Is there no requirement that aesthetics play a role in approving large-scale projects – especially along the waterfront?

“This is not a location for mediocrity.”

Despite her concerns, council was advised that the variances on the height and rear setback should be approved. A second bylaw outlining agreements on other development details like parking, drainage, and other issues was also approved by council.

While recommending council approve the permits, they also cautioned the developer that his planning work is not done.

The project should be green-lit “even though concerns have been expressed regarding the lack of a comprehensive review of the project in relation to the objectives of the OCP,” they said.

“The condition included in the Development Permit that the development MUST conform with the Zoning bylaw and the OCP means that the developer must ensure that any item not yet addressed in the development review process will be expected to conform to specifications. The issuance of this DP does not suggest that items not yet recognized have approval or are deemed to conform.”

With the variances and development permit in hand, Zeleznik is awaiting the building permit from the RDCK. However, that won’t be issued until all the Village’s outstanding issues are addressed, i.e. settling an agreement for hooking the building up to Village water and sewer.

Zeleznik is Mayor Tom Zeleznik’s brother. As with other stages in this project approval, the mayor declared a conflict, excused himself from the discussion and did not vote on the matter.

Strata, strata everywhere

Council approved two requests to convert rental buildings to strata units.

Shon’s Bike Shop, which last meeting was granted approval to convert its upstairs hostel at 409 Broadway into apartments for rent, asked they be allowed to convert the three units into strata properties. The main floor would also be converted, to a commercial strata unit.

“At times, concern is expressed on strata conversion applications specifically for multiple unit residential buildings as this type of strata conversion could have significant impact on the supply of rental housing in a community and an effect on the people who live in them,” wrote staff in a report. “However, in this situation, the units are currently used as short-term rentals and will not cause displacement of long-term rental units.”

Shon’s has about six months to ensure the building conforms to building codes and other regulations, and once they satisfy all council’s requirements, the strata can go ahead.

Just down the street, the commercial strip mall at 92 Broadway (which houses a medical and dental clinic and pharmacy) is also going strata.

Council approved the move in principal, as the move to strata would not affect the availability of rental housing units in the village.

Like Shon’s, the owners of the building have to ensure all the particulars of their building – including zoning and building codes – are in proper order before the strata becomes legal. They have 180 days to complete that work.

NACFOR borrows money

Council approved a request from its community forest corporation to allow it to borrow money. While it is a stand-alone entity and council keeps its nose out of its day-to-day affairs, NACFOR has to come to council for approval for borrowing $200,000.

The money will be used to purchase some land and access to a Crown woodlot.

New EV station

Another electric charging station may be coming to Nakusp.

Kootenay Rockies Tourism and the Community Energy Association, working with the Nakusp and Area Development Board, are offering to install a Level 2 EV charger at the marina downtown. The Village would supply the land for the charger, which had to meet other requirements – it would be near tourist facilities, have the necessary power available, etc. The NADB will also put up $1,000 for the project.

“As evident on the program criteria provided, the Village appears to be a very good fit for this funding opportunity,” staff wrote to council.

However, since the application deadline was a week after the council meeting, the NADB went ahead and made the application on the Village’s behalf. (Councillor Aiden McLaren-Caux is also the NADB’s Economic Development Coordinator).

Council could have backed out of the plan, but they were on board, as having more EV chargers fits in with the official community plan.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

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