This drawing shows what a proposed townhouse development near Big Beach would look like. (Image from Ucluelet’s Jan. 23 council agenda)

New townhouse project in Ucluelet,

“The seven units of Multi-Family residential are a needed element in Ucluelet’s housing inventory.”

A new townhouse complex has taken a step towards reality in Ucluelet.

During their Jan. 23 regular meeting, Ucluelet’s municipal council reviewed, and advanced to a public hearing, a zoning amendment for a currently empty Marine Drive site between Black Rock Resort and Big Beach that would allow for seven two-storey townhomes and a 750 sq. ft. commercial space to be built.

The amendment is needed for the project to go ahead because the land was originally zoned for a maximum of three residential units with the primary use being a business, according to a report submitted by Ucluelet’s Planner 1 John Towgood.

“This mixed use lists the commercial component as the primary use, meaning that it must be there, with the dwelling units only allowed on the second storey or higher,” he wrote.

He suggested allowing the applicant to increase the land’s residential capacity was supported by district staff because, “The seven units of Multi-Family residential are a needed element in Ucluelet’s housing inventory.”

“With this proposal being out of the commercial core (where commercial density and continuity are important), the reduction of ground floor commercial has less impact and is not only supported but encouraged,” Towgood wrote. “With the shortage of residential housing stock especially in the smaller multi-family unit form the increase in density is supported.”

He added that the applicant is willing to satisfy the site’s mandated commercial component by including a 760 sq. ft. commercial space with a mezzanine on the south-side of the building.

Towgood’s report noted the land is relatively clear with the only significant environmental feature being a large cedar on the north side of the property, which the applicant has assured will remain in place.

“A paved sidewalk will run along the frontage connecting the existing sidewalk to the south to the Wild Pacific Trail connection that runs along the northern property line,” he wrote. “The frontage should be fully landscaped in keeping with the surrounding native species.”

The project includes 12 parking spaces.

Towgood likened the proposed building’s design, which includes a “wave roof effect,” to the Ucluelet Aquarium and said it would fit in well with the community’s aesthetic.

“This spattering of strong architectural forms, such as the Whiskey Landing, the Moorage, Black Rock, the Aquarium, and this proposed building can help further define our community’s architectural identity,” he wrote. “The southern commercial element with its large overhang and outdoor seating creates a visual connection from the forest surroundings to the commercial space underneath.”

A date for the public hearing was not immediately set.

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