Saroya’s Third Avenue development permit approved

The empty gravel lot beside Artemis Books on upper Third Avenue in Port Alberni is one step closer to being filled with more that just cars.

Plans for Paul Saroya’s five-storey mixed-use residential and commercial development on Third Avenue were presented to council.

The empty gravel lot beside Artemis Books on upper Third Avenue is one step closer to being filled with more that just cars.

Paul Saroya received a development permit from city council on Monday for his proposed five-storey mixed-use residential and commercial building. The building will be at 3033 Third Ave. and feature four floors of residential over one floor of commercial. The development permit is valid for two years.

When applying for a development variance back in fall 2015, Saroya had indicated that the building units would be sold off as condominiums.

“Is there any protection for us that these will actually be sold units?” Coun. Sharie Minions asked.

City planner Scott Smith stated that he didn’t believe that there was anything the city could do to ensure that was the case.

“Local government doesn’t get that level of control about whether the building is stratified or not… and it could be stratified and still rented out,” said Smith.

“The zoning bylaw regulates the use of the property as residential commercial, it doesn’t get into the legal mechanism of ownership.”

Coun. Jack McLeman asked if it was possible to put a restrictive covenant to avoid the condos being bought up and rented out.

“Is there any way we can put a restrictive covenant on a building, not just this one, so that a majority of them are actually owned and lived in [by the owner] or people can only own so many? I just don’t want to see it like in some towns which have had trouble [because] they have a condo there and somebody buys half of them or all of them and rents them out at some rate that’s beneficial to him but isn’t beneficial to the area or the town,” asked McLeman.

“I’m not aware of any type of covenant that a local government would be able to put on a title in that regard,” Smith said.

“That might have to be something we get legal advice on.”

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