A Titanium Way property could be home to three new caretaker suites if the city approves a proposed zoning amendment.
The zoning change would see up to four caretaker suites, small residential units in a commercial building, permitted at 105 Titanium Way in Marwell. The site currently has a caretaker suite in the current building with the owners planning to build another structure that would include three more.
The proposal was brought forward to Whitehorse city council at its July 19 meeting.
As Sidharth Agarwal, a planner with the city, stated in a report to council, the commercial/industrial zoning for the site permits one caretaker suite.
“The units would be designed as live/work units and allow business owners, young entrepreneurs and workers to save time and costs associated with housing and commuting to work, allow flexibility in working hours, make it easier to attract workers from outside the city and increase opportunities for co-working and collaboration between businesses in close proximity,” Agarwal said.
Conditions would be attached to the proposed zoning, including: suites being connected internally by staircase, hallway or a door to the primary business; a 100 square metre size cap per residence; and the business and connected suite being considered as one unit by the city.
Answering questions from Coun. Jan Stick about ensuring that residents of the units are indeed staff or the business owner, Agarwal indicated the condition that the units be connected to the business was put in place for that reason.
He also noted the city could do an inspection if there is a complaint made.
In his report, Agarwal pointed to the city’s Official Community Plan, which “envisions gradual redevelopment within Marwell to encourage increased mixed-use commercial, office and light industrial uses, combined with more recreational amenities.
“The intent is to move away from traditional heavy and service industrial uses that have been historically prominent in the Marwell area.”
He then went on to note developments on Titanium Way are more compact office and clean industrial units that could be conducive to small living arrangements.
Agarwal also highlighted the zoning bylaw, noting size limitations and other conditions in place on caretaker suites. The limits are intended to discourage larger households – which may require additional amenities such as playgrounds and the like – from living on-site.
Other city documents were noted throughout the report.
“The proposed amendment to allow for three additional live/work caretaker suites is in line with the intent of the OCP, as well as the recommendations of the Marwell Plan and Commercial Industrial Land Study,” Agarwal said. “It can offer opportunities for businesses to attract workers, provide flexible working hours and potentially save housing/commuting costs.
“At the same time, it is important to recognize that the proposed development is in a primarily commercial/industrial area and any zoning amendment should ensure that caretaker residences remain secondary to the primarily commercial/industrial nature of the area.”
Coun. Dan Boyd said he’s interested to hear what the public has to say about the proposal and argued a better term for the concept may be “employee housing” instead of caretaker suites.
Others on council cited concerns around ensuring Marwell remains a commercial/industrial neighbourhood, though the benefits of more people in the neighbourhood were also noted.
If council approves first reading of the bylaw at its July 26 meeting, a public hearing on the proposal would be held at the Sept. 13 meeting.
A report on the hearing would then come forward Oct. 4 ahead of second and third reading on Oct. 12.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org