Stonehurst Proposal

The current owners of the Stonehurst property, located at 529 Gibsons Way, have approached the Town of Gibsons about the potential purchase of a portion (approximately 57%) of the adjacent lot (Lot 23) for the purposes of development.

The development proposal is based on four objectives:

  1. Improving Inglis Park and officially designating it as a park
  2. Maintaining public parking
  3. Preserving Stonehurst
  4. Increasing housing

As part of the development proposal, the Town-owned portion (approximately 43%) of the site would be revitalized by significantly improving the appearance and usability of the existing park space (Inglis Park), while maintaining equivalent parking levels.  The new green space would subsequently be officially zoned as a park.

Before moving forward with this proposal, Council would like to receive feedback from the community.

Currently, Lot 23 is predominantly used for surface parking, with a small portion at the Gibsons Way frontage improved as park space.

Information about the rationale, development proposal, site history, site zoning, trees on the property, Stonehurst property and financial considerations is provided below. It is followed by a short survey, which provides the opportunity for public input.

We encourage Town of Gibsons residents to read the following information and then share their thoughts by completing the survey that follows before September 4th.

Rationale

Council is considering this proposal as it advances many of the objectives presented in the 2019 -2022 Strategic Plan, including: advocating for and facilitating a range of housing types; creating spaces that create a sense of community and are accessible to all; preserving our green spaces; and managing our assets.

In addition to physical enhancements to the park space, the project will provide substantial financials benefits to the Town. These could be used to help fund affordable housing, future policing costs (which will rise significantly when Gibson’s population officially reaches 5,000 people) or infrastructure needs.

The sale of the land would be subject to the adoption of related bylaw amendments (i.e. if the final development proposal is not approved by Council, the land will not be sold).

Development Proposal

The development proposal is based on four objectives:

  • Improving Inglis Park
  • Preserving Stonehurst
  • Maintaining public parking
  • Increasing housing

The proposed site design is intended to visually connect Inglis Park with Pioneer Park (across the street), integrate the heritage Stonehurst building, include public parking underground and add approximately 21 residences.

Under the development proposal, the existing Stonehurst home would be preserved and upgraded as required to allow a small boutique inn with a main floor public food venue, such as a coffee shop or small bistro. This proposal is generally consistent with the OCP’s intended Residential/Tourist land use designation.

Public parking will be maintained by providing public covered parking stalls under the development.

Housing will be increased by adding 21 new residential units, designed as a cluster of seven smaller 3 to 4-storey buildings resembling houses, arranged around a central landscaped courtyard.

All units are single-level, suitable for families, seniors, or persons with limited mobility.

Inglis Park Improvements

Improvements to Lot 23 would include moving the park up the property to better utilize the land, and enhancements (in the form of trails, seating, and potentially hardscaping areas) to better connect the site to the street and to Pioneer Park. Additional design features could include a community garden, kids’ playground, an art piece in memory of Dr. Inglis and/or a designated area and facilities for community events.

While there is a sign on the property that calls the site “Inglis Park”, “park” is not currently the official status of the property. Rather, it is a commercially zoned property. This proposal seeks to zone the resulting green space as a park, thereby protecting it in perpetuity.

Site History – Lot 23

In 1980, the Village of Gibsons purchased Lot 23 for $50,000. The site was purchased as a “holding parcel for Lower Village parking.”

In 1986, Council adopted an amendment to the Zoning Bylaw to change the zoning of Lot 23 from “Comprehensive Development Area” to “Downtown Commercial Zone 5”. This was done to facilitate the eventual development of parking areas.

Currently, Lot 23 is predominantly used for surface parking, with a small portion at the Gibsons Way frontage improved as park space.

Site Zoning

Lot 23 is zoned Downtown Commercial Zone 5 (C-5) and is designated in the Official Community Plan (OCP) as “Public/Community Uses”.

Should the Town wish to develop the property, existing zoning allows the following uses:

  • Retail, Office, Service Commercial
  • Apartment, where combined with commercial
  • Parking lot
  • Restaurant
  • Tasting lounge and microbrewery

The development proposal for Lot 23 is partially consistent with the OCP (i.e. Public/Community Uses), as the proposed park area would expand. However, the residential portion behind the park would require an OCP amendment and zoning amendment to allow the development of land as proposed.

Trees on the Property

Most of the trees on Lot 23 are situated on the portion of the site that would be retained by the Town.

The property owners have confirmed that their intention is to retain those trees and that they would hire an arborist to assess their condition. They would also engage a registered landscape architect to provide recommendations on how the trees would be integrated into the design of the new Inglis Park.

Any proposal for the new park space would be presented to the Town for approval.

There are a few trees on the portion of the lot that is proposed for purchase. Retention here would be limited due to plans to construct an underground parking structure.

Stonehurst Property

The Stonehurst property is located at 529 Gibsons Way. The Stonehurst house is believed to have been built in 1913 by Dr. Fred Inglis.

Stonehurst was used as the Sunshine Coast’s first medical clinic and was an important cultural hub. As such, the site is significant both historically and architecturally.

The Town does not have a heritage registry, only an inventory. Therefore, it has no means of protecting the Stonehurst building without rezoning and entering into negotiations with the owner.

Council considers that the proposal to preserve the Stonehurst building will protect an important heritage feature in the Town, in a prominent location of Gibsons Landing.

Financial Considerations

The owners of Stonehurst are proposing to purchase the upper portion (57%) of Lot 23 for an appraised value of $725,000. The appraised value was determined by a third-party consultant, which was chosen by the Town and paid for by Stonehurst’s owners.

Lot 23 (in its entirety) was assessed by the British Columbia Assessment Authority at $746,000 as of July 1, 2019.

The sale of a portion of the property will result in additional revenue for the Town comprised of:

  • one-time revenue from the land sale proceeds;
  • annual property tax revenue collected from a parcel that was previously exempt;
  • bi-annual user fees generated once the property has been developed; and
  • associated development cost charges (DCCs).

Council may use the sale revenue for a wide variety of options, such as:

  • a contribution to the capital reserve to fund existing or future infrastructure needs;
  • a contribution to a policing reserve to assist with the transition to the increased policing costs the Town will face once the population reaches 5,000;
  • a contribution to the affordable housing reserve to support affordable housing initiatives in Town;
  • a contribution to support other Council strategic initiatives.

Once the site has been developed, annual taxation and user fee revenue will result in an ongoing contribution of funding to support Town operational and asset replacement requirements.

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Community Survey

Council encourages Town of Gibsons residents to complete this short survey on the proposed sale and development of a portion of Lot 23. (Place cursor on box and scroll down to begin.) The survey will be open until Friday, September 4, 2020; responses will help guide Council’s decision-making on this matter.


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