By Camille Aubin
At the most recent council meeting of Radium Hot Springs on Nov. 25, the councillors voted against the adoption of the development permit No. 159, for a development project going by the name ‘Radium Escape’.
The planned project involves construction of a four-unit rowhouse located at the corner of Pioneer Avenue and Stanley Street across from the Radium Hot Springs Centre, planned specifically as a short term rental (STR) property. Council has been working for two years on a bylaw to regulate the rapid proliferation of STR’s in the village. Planner outlined that the rowhouse could also be rent for the medium term (30-90 days) or long term (90+ days). The rowhouse could sleep up to 14 people per unit with a total of five bedrooms. If every unit was at full capacity, there could be a total of 56 people in the development at a given time.
Current zoning bylaw in Radium only permit two storey rowhouses. The proponentrequested a variance to the bylaw to permit construction of a third unit, which was refused by councillors. Councillor Mike Gray shared his concerns related to the extensive shading on the neighbours’ property noting the relatively large structure, occupying most of the lot, would most likely create a good dearl of shade.
Parking availability — a long-running concern in Radium was brought up by mayor Clara Reinhardt. The proposal adheres to the zoning bylaw’s requirement of 1.5 parking spots per unit. However, with occupancy levels that could potentially reach 14 people per unit, parking on site will not be enough, suggested Reinhardt, adding that even during moderate occupancy, let alone during peak tourism season, when large trucks carry boats, the lack of parking at the development could make an already existing situation worse.
All councillors were concerned about the excessive noise that could result from a unit with so many residents. The proponent sought to reassure the councillors by proposing the installation of a Noise Aware monitoring system, hardwired outdoors, that would be monitored by a security firm. But councillors re-iterated that occupancy levels of up to 14 people per unit would likely result in a noise problem.
Another concern raised by the council relates to the large building’s aesthetic, which does not fit with the “small mountain village” concept Radium is going for, noted Gray.
After a lengthy discussion, the councillors decided to reject the variance request, adding that the proponent will be able to come back with a revised proposal to address the concerns and suggestions they have raised.