Owners of White Rock’s Blue Frog Studios will soon be living atop of their Johnston Road business.
Council last month gave unanimous support to a development permit that clears the way for the residential unit at 1328 Johnston Rd. The permit addresses the form and character of the building, along with a variance reducing the number of required parking spaces.
The Oct. 20 vote followed a short public meeting earlier in the evening, during which all who spoke to the issue expressed support.
Owner Kelly Breaks told council that being able to live on-site is important to the studio’s future.
“Blue Frog Studios is growing. In order to continue to be a viable operation, it makes sense to build a living unit,” Breaks said.
He cited the added ability he and his partner will have to keep an eye on the business, which has been the target of break-ins in recent months.
While council did not discuss the permit prior to voting Monday, it received positive reviews during the Oct. 6 land-use and planning meeting.
At that time, Coun. Louise Hutchinson said she was “thrilled” with the idea of having something new built in the Lower Town Centre.
It’s much-needed action that hasn’t been seen in that neighbourhood for about 20 years, and could be the beginning of the area’s rejuvenation, she said.
“Hopefully, this will kick-start development on lower Johnston,” Hutchinson said.
The city’s director of planning and development services explained to the committee that the one-level addition meets all of the zoning requirements except in regards to parking.
While the CR-2 zoning requires two additional spaces for the residential unit, Karen Cooper said there is “no capacity” for them on the existing site, which already has eight spots. Noting that studio events that tend to create a need for parking are typically held at night, Cooper said it is unlikely a variance would significantly impact the availability of parking in the area.