This replica of Anne Hathaway's Cottage

This replica of Anne Hathaway's Cottage

English Inn proposal inching ahead in Esquimalt

Esquimalt council to consider recommendation in coming weeks

The English Inn property off Lampson Street in Esquimalt appears headed toward change.

According to Bill Brown, the Township’s director of development services, a staff report to come before council later this month or in September will recommend approval of a requested rezoning and subdivision of the 4.5-acre property.

The proposal would protect the existing manor house and significant landscaping on one lot under a heritage revitalization agreement, and allow residential development – including institutional care or assisted living for seniors – of up to six storeys on the remaining land.

The rezoning requires a change to the official community plan, plus a public hearing.

From the 1950s through the ’70s, the property was the site of a Tudor-style tourist attraction and hotel, but the business fell on hard times in recent decades.

Rezoning applicant LFC Lampson Holdings Inc. does not have a sale pending on the property, confirmed Brian Chelin, principal of Lanyard Group of Companies, part of the ownership group.

The group’s vision is to gain heritage designation for the manor house property to allow for something like a 14-room boutique hotel that could cater to the wedding business.

“(The goal for) the rest of the property, the 3.3 acres, is to create a zone for multi-family development that compliments the architectural features of the manor house,” Chelin said.

“We’re looking to sell both parcels separately and put both on a platform where they’re viable not only to the ownership, but also to the community.”

All buildings other than the manor house would likely be demolished by a new owner.

Esquimalt staff have circulated notices to neighbours, the Capital Regional District, Department of National Defence and Esquimalt Resident’s Association about the proposed change to the OCP to allow for responses.

Nick Kovacs, chair of the association, said resident feedback has been mainly positive so far.

People’s main concerns, he said, are with the possibility a six-storey building could be built on the site, and the potential lack of parking during events at the hotel – the zoning change would require only 14 spots.

Kovacs said, however, the owners have indicated the siting of buildings is flexible on the large lot, one side of which backs onto DND property.

“I think that’s where the public hearing will come in, the owners can present their plan and answer questions,” he said.

ddescoteau@vicnews.com