Port Alberni city council has denied a request for a development permit extension from a property owner on Third Avenue.
In 2016, council approved a development permit for a major mixed use building on 3033 Third Avenue, affectionately known as the gravel parking lot next to SteamPunk Cafe.
The owner of the property, Paul Saroya, had proposed a new, five-story mixed-use development that would consist of 40 residential units and eight commercial units back in April of 2016. Two years later, no substantial construction has commenced, so the development permit will lapse on April 12 of this year.
Director of development services Scott Smith explained that a property owner must apply for a development permit before they can apply for a building permit. This development permit lapses after two years if no application is made for a building permit.
Saroya, who did not appear in council chambers during the meeting on Monday, April 9, attached a letter requesting an extension for the development permit, with an explanation that he had hired engineers for the project.
“I tried to apply for a building permit before April 12, 2018, but unfortunately the engineers are so busy that I am unable to beat the April 12th expiry date,” the letter stated. “I am requesting to extend the D.P. for another term as we have already invested so much money, time, and effort into this project.”
Council unanimously voted to deny his request.
Councillor Jack McLeman pointed out that the original application came to council quite a while ago. “The owner of this property owns other property we’ve had troubles with, and I just don’t see it being a good thing,” he said.
Saroya also owns the Beaufort Hotel, which was declared a nuisance property by council in February of this year.
Mayor Mike Ruttan agreed, “He’s had more than enough time to meet the terms of the development permit and that hasn’t happened.”
Smith noted that a new development permit can be issued once the owner’s plans are complete and ready for construction.