Bank, pharmacy top Chelsea Creek building blocks


by admin on October 28, 2010

Architectual drawing of the 7,200 square foot building to house a bank and pharmacy

Architectual drawing of the 7,200 square foot building to house a bank and pharmacy

Developer details plans for 7,200-square foot commercial building in Old Chelsea, Quebec

Chelsea residents wanting a pharmacy or bank in their centre village will be happy to hear those are the first structures on the building list for the planned Chelsea Creek development.

During a special meeting of the Planning and Sustainable Development Advisory Committee on Oct. 25, developer Marc Shank presented his architectural integration plans for a 7,200-square-foot commercial building on just over an acre of Chelsea Creek land located on Old Chelsea Rd across from the Chelsea town hall.

Shank told the dozen people in the audience and committee members that the first building project was “nothing really new, just a rehashing of what we said we said we were going to do.” The Chelsea Creek general development plan for 197 units of commercial and housing development at the southeast side of the Hwy 5 and Old Chelsea Road intersection was approved last November.

Shank stressed that the size, proportions and aesthetics all conform to the municipal zoning bylaws. Shank and fellow developer Mike Simon are requesting a permit to build the two-storey commercial building that would see a bank and a 2,500-square-foot pharmacy on the ground level, and 4,500 square feet of office space on the second level.

Shank called this project “Phase 1A” of Chelsea Creek’s four construction phases.

Once built, the 27-metres wide commercial building will face Old Chelsea Road, with parking located at its back. The plan calls for two large dormer windows projecting from a sloped metal roof.

Finishing materials include wood and stone for the exterior, with windows and doors in aluminum-clad wood; colours are earth tone greens and browns. There is no official landscaping design as yet, though the plans show numerous trees planted in front and back. “Dark sky lighting” will illuminate the parking lot.

Water will come from a well located on an adjacent building lot within the development. Shank said the building will use a holding tank for sewage until the municipal sewer system is built. He is also requesting a temporary road access from Old Chelsea Road until the main entrance to the development is built.

There are plans for a second commercial building of a slightly smaller size on the adjacent lot facing Old Chelsea Road, though Shank stressed this permit request was only for this particular building lot.

Questions from the floor focused on water usage and the short notice of the meeting itself. One audience member commented that the “optics” of calling this special meeting for a developer, which was not posted on the municipal website until the afternoon of that same day, “did not look good.”

Common Ground developer Sean McAdam, who believed his project had been bumped from the agenda, asked how many weeks preceded the request for the meeting.

Committee chair and councillor Luc Poulin said that the meeting followed “normal procedure” and that meeting was called Oct. 21, when the final documents from the developer were ready.

In a separate interview, Chelsea Director-general Paul St. Louis said that the developer had indicated that he “wants to be in the ground before winter,” but the municipality received his documents late and “we agreed to put him on the agenda for (Oct. 25).”

At the meeting Shank pointed out that the process for this permit started with urban planner Stephan Dore in August, but since has has since left the municipality, it slowed things down.

Audience members Anne Gazely and Scott Findlay quizzed Shank for details about water consumption. He said that with only a few low-flow toilets and sinks, and no showers or washing machines, the building would consume about one cubic metre per day, or one-fifth that of an average Chelsea household.

The architectural integration plans will be studied by the planning committee, and if given the green light, will then be moved to council for approval.