APC says Madrona Phase 2 meets permit guidelines
The development permit application for Phase 2 of the Madrona Marketplace meets all the required guidelines, according to the members of the Advisory Planning Commission.
However, members of the APC were not in agreement on recommending the Local Trust Committee approve the application. They cited certain items (such as the landscaping and open space provisions) they would like to see changed in the development proposal.
The APC met last Monday night after being asked by Island Trustees Sheila Malcolmson and Gisele Rudischer if the application met the guidelines for the Village Commercial Development Permit Area.
The APC members focused on the swatch of green space, which, due to setback requirements, will run between the building proposed and North Road. APC members said they would like that space to have benches and ways for the public to stop and enjoy the space, not just walk through it.
Applicants Chris Hock and Lana Pearson said their original plan included benches in the setback area, which when completed will measure 25 feet wide by 400 feet long (10,000 square feet, the same square footage of the building being proposed).
Because the area is a setback, under current zoning rules, benches are not permitted in the area.
Regional Planning Manager Chris Jackson said the bench issue could be solved by the applicant asking for a zoning variance. Such an application could be made in conjunction with the development permit area, or after the development is completed.
APC members said they would like to see the trustees work with the applicant to find a way to establish public seating in the setback area, as well as other green spaces planned for the development.
The applicants were also asked if they had completed the cleanup of the soil on the property, which had previously been the site of a gas station with underground storage tanks.
Chris explained he and Lana had been working for the last two years on remediation of the site and the process was 90 per cent complete, the 10 per cent remaining being the paperwork to declare the site clean.
He said, “You can’t get a building permit without a cleared site; they won’t issue it.”
Eighty-five loads of soil were dug out of the site and remediated on the back of the lot.
Chris said the alternate method was to have the soil barged off Gabriola, cleaned and brought back. Having it cleaned on site took longer, but was more cost effective.
He was also asked if having a gravel or other permeable surface for the parking lot was considered as an alternative to asphalt.
Chris said the issue with permeable surfaces is they do not collect fluids (such as oil) which drip from vehicles.
The design of the asphalt lot funnels the fluids and runoff into an oil trap where it is collected.
“After all the work we put in cleaning the soil, we are sensitive about having oil get back in to it.”
One of the issues APC members were concerned with is the guidelines do not require applicants to use indigenous plants in landscaping, only that there be natural (as opposed to plastic/artificial) plants used.
Trustees were asked to consider that concern when looking at approving this application.
Both Sheila and Gisele were present. Sheila said she thought what the APC members were talking about, whether it was the benches issue or use of natural species, she hoped the APC members would write these ideas down to bring back if there is a Village planning study within the Trust Committee’s work program.
She said much of what was done in the Official Community Plan and Land Use Bylaw in the 1990s was innovative then.
“We can find more innovation now.”
She added that if there is a move on the part of the community to have more benches, the Trust Committee could look at changing the zoning of the entire Village commercial zone, “so all the landowners can all have benches in the future.”
Other questions asked of the applicant:
Q: Why are there so many parking spots?
A: Some parking from Phase 1 was put on to the Phase 2 lot in order to allow the Phase 1 buildings to be built to their size.
Q: What about water and septic systems?
A: Due to it being a commercial building, rainwater is not permitted for interior use so the existing well will be used with a trickle tank (cistern) used as a mid-stream collection point. A rainwater collection system with cisterns will be built for use in the exterior functions such as watering the plants and grass. A septic system separate from the Phase 1 system will be built.
Q: Is there any connection intended to the Lions residence?
A: No. There is a piece of private property between Phase 2 and the Lions centre, which is not owned by the Madrona developers.
Q: Will any mature trees be kept?
A: The grove of trees currently beside North Road just west of the Phase 2/Phase 1 boundary will be kept and integrated into the 25-foot wide setback. Other mature vegetation will be maintained where possible.
Q: Will there be an electric car charging station?
A: The RDN is putting together a short list of locations for potential charging stations, which are being looked at through a provincial grant. At least one station is intended for Gabriola and Phase 2 has been submitted by the developers as a potential site.