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Rezoning for affordable housing complex will go to public hearing

Council passed second reading of the rezoning bylaw at its regular meeting Jan. 12
The Dik Tiy Housing Society would be demolishing old Hill Top bar and building a three-storey, 41-unit affordable housing unit on the old site. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Council has passed second readings of two bylaws that would clear the way for Dik Tiy Housing Society to build a three-story, 41-unit affordable housing complex at 1869 Main Street (the old Hilltop Inn site).

The first law would change the zoning from C-4 tourist R-3 medium density residential. The second would modify the town’s Official Community Plan to change the land use designation from highway commercial to mixed use residential with a further variance to allow increased density in support of affordable housing.

Alec Warrender, a consultant from Faction Projects, updated council with details of the project at their Jan. 12 regular meeting. The society is proposing a high-efficiency design containing 32-one bedroom units, ideally suited for seniors; seven two-bedroom units for couples; and two three-bedroom units designed for families.

There would be an elevator in the building for accessibility and 20 per cent of the units would be fully-mobility accessible and 80 per cent would be adaptable for mobility needs.

The plan includes 45 stalls for parking, one for each unit, one for visiting health care providers and three for visitors.

Council received letters in opposition to the development from some of the property’s neighbours including concerns about the number of units being too many, the planned parking being inadequate and the three-storey building being too tall with a peaked roof.

Council remains concerned about those issues and more, including the lack of a 24-hour caretaker on the grounds and the affordability of the units 20 per cent of which are designated as deep subsidy, 30 per cent affordable and 50 per cent at market value.

Nevertheless, council passed the second readings to make way for the statutory public hearing.

While the housing is needed in Smithers, Mayor Gladys Atrill said, more discussion is required.

“The public hearing is key in assisting council in its final decision as to whether or not to support the rezoning and project,” said Mayor Gladys Atrill.

Council also voted to provide a “general” letter of support needed for the funding application to BC Housing.

The dates for public hearings will be published in The Interior News when they are set.

READ MORE: Smithers Mayoral candidates weigh in on affordable housing

READ MORE: Affordable housing for seniors and people with disabilities

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