A developer is looking to rezone a plot of land across from Home Hardware at 1130 Rocky Creek Road, and five adjacent parcels along Rocky Creek Road, from light industrial to shopping centre commercial use.
The Official Community Plan, (OCP), designation and zoning in this area have changed several times. In 2008, the OCP designation and zoning on the subject property and five adjacent parcels on Rocky Creek Road were changed from light industrial to a comprehensive development zone.
The comprehensive development zone allowed for a hotel and related uses. The hotel development did not proceed, and in 2017 the OCP designation and zoning on the five adjacent parcels were returned to light industrial. In 2018, the Town changed the OCP designation on the subject property from “Mixed Use Waterfront” to “Industrial” on the vacant properties.
There is an existing covenant on the property from the 2008 development proposal. Green building and landscaping standards must be used. There are provisions for a transit stop, an outdoor public space, and a historical artifact acknowledging the location of the 49th Parallel; and $1,000 of amenity contribution per residential unit.
Town Council directed the application proceed for further consideration at the July 7 Special Council Meeting.
The next steps include discussion with Stz’uminus First Nation, School District 68, the Community Planning Advisory Committee, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, BC Transit, BC Hydro, the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, and the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association.
The applicant will also be required to hold a neighbourhood information meeting, and provide additional information that includes a comprehensive traffic impact study, and economic feasibility/impact information.
“I’m excited to see any application come forward for this property,” Mayor Aaron Stone said. “I do respect that the applicant will have to make significant expense to do the preliminary work to get through the zoning process, and that’s why it’s before us tonight.”
The site plan features two retail spaces, two restaurant spaces, and retail office spaces for a total gross floor area of 23,478 square-feet. Councillor Marsh Stevens said that an email from the applicant mentioned national retailers like Starbucks, Wendy’s, and Dollarama may occupy the proposed development.
Council engaged in lengthy discussion about the future of the proposal.
One of the primary concerns of council was the potential impact to a proposed roundabout at the intersection of Rocky Creek and Ludlow – council wanted to ensure the roundabout can be built in the future. Council also asked for electric vehicle charging stations, design guidelines on signage, and an ability to accommodate Light Up decorations.
“This is a very big focal point on the highway for traffic going both directions,” councillor Duck Paterson said. “If we could work with Festival of Lights it could be very impressive.”
Another concern of council was the landscaping and design of the proposed parking lot. 75 parking stalls are required, and the proposal features 84 stalls. Mayor Stone suggested a small number of parking spots should be sacrificed for trees to prevent heat islands from forming in the parking area.
Council directed staff to discuss these items with the applicant prior to further consideration of their rezoning application.