Marina variance rejected

Despite pleas for approval by Area F director Larry Morgan, a request for a development variance permit was rejected

Despite pleas for approval by Area F director Larry Morgan, a request for a development variance permit for Captain’s Village Marina was rejected.

Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors pondered the matter at the May 21 board meeting and followed a staff recommendation when it came time to vote.

The applicant was proposing to build a large indoor boat storage facility on the Captain’s Village Marina site located in Scotch Creek.

In order to build the 277- by 218-foot storage facility he asked the board to relax the minimum building height for a principal building from 11.5 metres to 22.5 metres.

In his report to the board, senior planner Dan Passmore said the Area F Official Community Plan does not support development over three storeys in the waterfront commercial designated area.

The zoning regulation restricts height to 11.5 metres which permits a three-storey building with an additional height allowance in the event of a steeply peaked roof.

“The proposed indoor boat storage facility will exceed this policy and the zoning bylaw height limitation by being roughly equivalent to six or seven storeys high,” said Passmore. “Staff recommends the board consider denial. The staff recommendation was made in support of the OCP, which recommends limiting height on lakeshore situated 290 feet from the lake to three stories.”

As well, Passmore said operations management staff had concerns about fire protection issues and the form and character of the building itself.

Speaking on behalf of the marina and its agent David Cunliffe, Morgan said fire suppression has been addressed quite satisfactorily and the tall building would reduce the marina’s footprint and impact on the lake.

“It gets boats off the lake. This type of storage has been promoted in Area C and it will clean up the unsightly look of boats, etcetera on site,” he said. “The height optimizes the efficiency of the facility and the owner is looking at investing $2 million including purchase of  a $500,000 fork lift.”

Morgan also claimed the building would not destroy mountain views, would be softened by textured cladding to improve esthetics and pointed out the owner would like to rezone the remainder of the property later for more housing.

“Tourism is the lifeblood to Area F and Scotch Creek has been in decline for the past few years,” said Morgan. “We should not be discouraging development and they are the biggest employer in the North Shuswap.

While agreeing with much of what Morgan said, Area C South Shuswap director Paul Demenok said he couldn’t support almost doubling the allowable height.

“I think it sets a bad precedent,” he said, suggesting the marina owner use some of the available land to expand horizontally. “If we’re willing to go 22 metres for boats, how high are we willing to go for people?”

Both Area B Rural Revelstoke director Loni Parker and Area D rep Rene Talbot agreed with Demenok.

“To me, you’re going down a path that makes it wide open to anyone else who wants to build high,” Talbot said.

Area E Rural Sicamous director and CSRD chair Rhona Martin asked if fire suppression concerns would be alleviated if the boat storage facility had sprinklers.

Regional fire chief Kenn Mount said the real issue would be the inability of Scotch Creek Firehall ladders to extend beyond 40 feet.

‘The equipment investment is quite significant to get an apparatus of that type,” he said, noting North Shuswap firefighters are trained to fight fires from the outside, not the inside at this time.

President and board member Dean Acton of marina owner ABCO, who was in the gallery, was given the opportunity to address CSRD directors.

“When you look at the height requirement, it’s from an efficiency standpoint,” he said, noting boats are now much longer and taller than they once were. “If we stay within 11.5 metres it doesn’t make it efficient to stack the boats.”

In response to suggestions he use some of the other land to build on horizontally, Acton said he could possibly go down to a four-level structure but that would seriously affect his return on investment.

“I think the land around there could be put to better use than boat storage,” he said.

Morgan made one more plea on Acton’s behalf.

But, when the question was called, all the directors except for Morgan voted against the variance permit.


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