Kimberley City Council passed a zoning amendment this week, allowing the Deer Park Avenue development to proceed with a Minor Commercial Zone: R-3A designation.
In his report to Council, Manager of Planning Services Troy Pollock said that the property, on the former location of Watkins School, was first re-zoned in 1998 for a 52-unit multi-family residential use and again in 2008 for a 63-unit mixed residential-commercial use. The current development plan under consideration consists of fewer residential units and an increase in floor area for commercial uses compared to the previously approved proposals.
It is the commercial aspect that raised some concern at last week’s public hearing on the zoning proposal.
Count. Kent Goodwin said that he did wonder about expanding the commercial area, considering that just a few years ago many Platzl business spaces were empty.
“We do need to be careful. I don’t want to see us build up more commercial land then be back where we were three or four years ago.”
Pollack pointed out that there was plenty of time through the development process to consider the proper amount of commercial space. It won’t be built over night, he said.
Mayor Don McCormick pointed out that there was a big difference between retail and professional commercial spaces.
“We have a lack of professional space, for lawyers and accountants, in Kimberley,” he said.
Another issue brought up was traffic in the lane that leads to Howard Street.
Coun. Goodwin said that he thought the traffic concerns in the alley could be dealt with by use of signage and speed bumps.
“The proponents don’t feel it would be a problem,” he said.
He also brought up they type of housing being proposed.
“There’s no shortage of high end housing in Kimberley,” Goodwin said. “But there is a shortage of low end.”
Coun. Darryl Oakley said that the smaller units were only 1200 square feet over two floors, and you simply weren’t going to be able to build for a cost under $350/square foot.
“They are small, and as affordable as you’re going to get,” Oakley said.
The zoning amendment was adopted with a unanimous vote.
The plan is for a mixed-use residential-commercial development consisting of eight separate structures totaling 42 residential units and 8 commercial units – with all the commercial use focused on the east side of the property along Deer Park Ave (ground floor commercial with residences above).
The developer, Archer Properties Group, has said it is hoped shovels can be in the ground by fall of this year.