A developer has taken the next step toward constructing two new auto dealerships on the former Long Lake Nursery site in Nanaimo.
City council, at a meeting Monday, Feb. 7, issued a development permit for Porsche and Subaru dealerships at 4900 Island Hwy. at Wills Road.
Council re-zoned the site in 2019 to allow for automobile sales on the property. The developer is planning a 19,400-square-metre Subaru dealership, a 14,000-square-metre Porsche dealership and a 9,300-square-metre servicing support building with an attached two-storey parkade. The developer requested three variances, most notably a minimum height variance to allow the two showroom buildings to be just one storey each.
“The street-facing portions of the buildings, however, will appear as two storeys above grade due to the large showroom ceiling heights,” noted a staff report.
Jeremy Holm, the city’s director of development approvals, told council that the buildings have been designed to meet the corporate requirements of Subaru and Porsche.
The development permit did not go to the city’s design advisory panel. Holm said it had been slated for that step in March 2020, but meetings were suspended at that time due to COVID-19.
Coun. Tyler Brown said he felt there was plenty of time to reschedule.
“The design panel often, I find, provides really good commentary on how an application design can better integrate to better meet the intention of the development permit guidelines,” he said.
Coun. Zeni Maartman suggested the variances were reasonable.
“When we first approved this [property] being a car dealership at the beginning of our term, I said I wanted something on this land before the four years was up, so I just hope they can get it built fast,” she said.
Council voted 7-2 to issue the development permit, with Brown and Coun. Ben Geselbracht opposed.