What started out as a concern about height restrictions on a proposed development turned into a discussion about age restrictions at council last Wednesday.
Larry Woolsey, one of the developers of the proposal, presented to the Qualicum Beach committee of the whole on Wednesday (April 19) on a 48-unit development at the corner of First Avenue and Beach Road. Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer excused himself from the discussion as it’s a conflict of interest for him.
The proposal is for a zoning amendment at 201, 207 and 211 First Avenue and 637 and 629 Beach Road. The development would consist of a 28-unit condominium; two, six-unit condominium buildings; and two, four-unit rental buildings.
The development initially came to the Feb. 6 council meeting for first reading, but was referred back to staff for more information and options from the developer.
The buildings, Woolsey said, were initially proposed to be built with four storeys, but councillors Barry Avis, Neil Horner and Anne Skipsey were all opposed to the height variance.
At the beginning of the meeting, Woolsey talked about how the condominium building would allow residents to “stay here and age in place.”
While that initial comment didn’t garner much attention from council, near the end of the meeting Skipsey brought up the condominium being suitable for seniors to age in place. She asked Woolsey if there would be age restrictions, and what he would think if there was a covenant that would restrict age restrictions.
Woolsey said on the building fronting First Avenue, the applicant would want age restrictions since it was designed for the majority of the market, which is over 60 years old. The developments further down Beach Road, Woolsey said, would be open to a mix of ages.
“To have a mixture of families and seniors sounds great in practice but if you’re living (there) and you’ve bought a place in your retirement and there’s a family next door, they’re just not compatible,” he said.
Mayor Teunis Westbroek said he thinks age restrictions are offensive.
“I think, personally, it should be against the constitution to say it’s age-restricted,” Westbroek said. “Can we have a building where you have to be under 40 or under 30? I think it’s wrong.”
Earlier in the meeting, resident Robert Filmer got up from the gallery to speak, and he said a development for all ages, as well as one affordable for all ages, would be great.
Coun. Neil Horner said to Woolsey that he would strongly suggest reconsidering the age restrictions.
“I do agree with Mr. Filmer, there should be a place in our town for young people,” Horner said.
At the end of the meeting, Westbroek said the proponent should come back with something that fits the discussions during the meetings.