Uptown building proposal worries city councillors

A proposal for a five-storey, mixed-use commercial and residential development on Third Avenue has city councillors worried.

A proposal for a five-storey, mixed-use commercial and residential development on Third Avenue has city councillors worried.

“I have a lot of reservations about it. I have trouble supporting it,” said Coun. Jack McLeman.

“It sounded good because we were going to get some development on an empty lot but the owner of that lot, we have given variance for his Beaufort Hotel and he’s never done anything with that variance as far as fixing up the rooms and the balconies and stuff.”

The lot at 3033 Third Ave., which is owned by Beaufort-owner Jaspal Saroya, currently stands empty and is typically used for parking.

Saroya is looking for a development variance on the lot that would allow him to build a five-storey (17 metres) tall building, according to a report from city planner Scott Smith.

Under the zoning bylaw, the tallest buildings allowed in core business areas are four storeys or 14 metres.

McLeman also took issue with the small size of the lot for the 40 residential units and eight commercial ones that Saroya has planned.

“Very, very small apartments and very small spaces which might be popular in Vancouver because prices are a million bucks per foot or something but it’s not that expensive here,” said McLeman.

“It just seems to me like he’s repeating the Beaufort Hotel.”

Coun. Denis Sauve enquired as to any ongoing bylaw or code violations at the Beaufort Hotel.

“I’m one of those who likes to see one fixed up before we see the same person considering building another one.”

In a later interview, Smith said that there were no open bylaw enforcement files at the Beaufort Hotel.

Council was not making decisions about the variance at this time. The matter will be up for public comment and will come back to council for decision at a later date.

However, Smith said, whether or not council approves the variance, Saroya can still choose to build a shorter building as long as it falls into the allowed uses for core business zoned spaces.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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