North Cowichan is moving forward in efforts to deal with the ongoing housing crisis in the municipality.
Council approved three development projects at its meeting on Dec. 6 that could provide up to 326 new residential units in North Cowichan.
Council also adopted amendments to its zoning bylaw to allow attached secondary suites on about 2,300 properties in the municipality for the first time.
Housing availability and affordability is a major issue across the province, with all levels of government grappling with the increasing demand for affordable-housing types.
“We are grateful and excited to see the increase in applications for multi-family development projects in North Cowichan,” said Mayor Jon Lefebure.
“We hear from residents on a regular basis about how difficult it is to find housing for themselves or their children, and approving these projects is a significant step towards diversifying our housing stock.”
Now that zoning changes have been approved by council, the project’s proponents can seek development and building permits from the municipality.
The largest of the residential projects approved at the meeting is a 195-unit complex on Green Road, located just south of Cowichan Commons.
The mixed-use development on the 5.2-hectare site is a project by the Green Road Development Company.
The site will see the construction of 15 units of two-storey townhouses, nine units of single-storey townhouses, and 45 units within a four-storey condo building.
As well, the project includes 126 units in a five-storey building with a social centre, shared kitchen and professional offices on the main floor.
The second largest project is a four-storey, 112-unit apartment building at 6472 Paddle Rd., located just north of Cowichan Commons.
The building, which will be pet-friendly, is planned to be largely two-bed, two-bath units, with some three-bed, one-bath units.
The third project is a 19-unit townhouse development at 3248 Sherman Rd.
The development, that was proposed by Alan Lowe Architect Inc., will be located across from the Sherman Road Soccer Park.
Changes to the bylaws around secondary suites will also allow thousands of attached secondary suites in numerous residential neighbourhoods — including those zoned R2, R2-A and R3 — in the municipality for the first time.
“R” zoning refers to residential housing and the specific zones targeted are those with housing large enough to accommodate secondary suites.