A public hearing on a contentious development in Comox is on tap tomorrow night.

The focus is the rezoning of 695 Aspen Road from commercial to mixed-use commercial/residential. 

If the rezoning goes through, it will help pave the way for a development from Highstreet Ventures Inc.

It includes three four-storey apartment buildings and one four-storey, mixed-use residential/commercial building.

The plan is for “Aspen View” to include 73 one bedroom/one bathroom units, and 159 two-bedroom/two bathroom units for a total of 208 rentals and 24 for-sale condos.

A number of neighbours believe it’s the wrong fit.

On Feb. 5th, they presented council with a 503-signature petition opposing the development.

Rita Walls, who spoke on behalf of the people against the project, said three significant concerns are traffic, parking and the height of the building.

Council has given the rezoning first and second reading.

Comox Mayor Russ Arnott said heading into the public hearing, council has heard feedback both for and against the project.

“(We’ve heard from) people concerned about density, traffic, but we’ve also been getting a lot of correspondence recently from people in favour of it,” Arnott said. “Council has heard from the community at large in the last year-and-a-bit that we’ve been on, that we need more rentals, so this allows us to trigger the public hearing, and we get to hear from a whole range of folks, whether they’re happy with this, or whether they’re not happy with it.”

Arnott said they’ll use the feedback as the basis for further discussion at a public meeting, “and at that time, we’ll vote on it.”

He added that the development “checks off a lot of boxes that the community at large has wanted.”

“It’s got some neat aspects to it. If it goes through, there could be a daycare, there, there is an affordable housing component to it… so we’re seeing that more and more in the valley with the crazy increases of housing and rentals.”

Meanwhile, Highstreet is proposing to make a cash-in-lieu contribution of $142,932 to the town’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund.

It’s also proposing for: 

  • Construction of six one bedroom dwelling units to be offered for $185,610 per unit for purchase by the Town for use as affordable housing units; 
  • Construction of one roughly 185 square metre commercial shell space to be offered at the sale price of $575,000 for purchase by the Town for use as a 28 space daycare; and, 
  •  Provision of a $680,340 letter of credit as security for the construction of the six dwelling units to be offered for purchase by the Town.

The public hearing gets underway at 7:30pm at the Comox Community Centre.