Property owner Kurt Swanson of KL Swanson Enterprises Ltd. received mixed city-council support this week for a proposed zoning amendment that would enable him to convert a commercial building to self-storage in Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada. Swanson is seeking the zoning change after his tenant vacated the building due to a loss of parking space for commercial vehicles, according to the application.
Swanson wants to add covered self-storage, including storage for boats and recreational vehicles, to the Highway Commercial Zone ordinance that’s specific to his property at 300-312 1st Ave. S. The property is currently designated as Highway Corridor Commercial in the city’s Official Community Plan, according to the source.
Swanson’s application lists the loss of the tenant and difficulty finding a similar replacement as primary reasons for the zoning change. The footprint of the existing building wouldn’t need to be altered to accommodate self-storage, the conversion would lessen environmental impact, and the project wouldn’t increase traffic disruption, Swanson argued. He also indicated there’s sufficient demand for self-storage in the community.
City staff recommended against the zoning change because they said self-storage is already permitted under the Clean Industrial Zone and Light Industrial Zone provisions of the Highway Corridor Commercial designation. Adding self-storage use to another segment of the zoning plan would only serve to dilute the other zones, according to Rob Veg, the city’s senior community planner.
“The idea of having RVs and large things stored there is a concern and doesn’t seem to be an appropriate use,” said councilmember Norma Blissett, who also raised concerns about possible increases in traffic.
Councilmember Tom Shypitka supported the change to help enable another business to move into the space rather than keep it as a “dead area,” the source reported. “From what I understand, there will be a public hearing involved before this ever goes through,” Shypitka said. “Residents would have their say, businesses would have their say, and if everybody’s cool with it, I think it’s a win for everybody.”
The council gave the application a first and second reading, enabling it to continue through the approval process.