With the announcement of the Delta Hotel downtown out of the way, moves are being made to make way for another hotel development in Prince George.
A special council meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. in council chambers will introduce the first two readings of a rezoning and official community plan amendment for a city-owned Ospika Boulevard property.
The application is being made to facilitate the sale of a one hectare lot, directly south of the CN Centre main entrance.
According to the OCP, the land is designated as parks and open space as well as neighbourhood corridor on the strip that fronts Ospika Boulevard.
The Exhibition Park master plan, adopted in late 2005, highlights the proposed property as a potential park area. According to the document, if the area is to have a park-like character, "it cannot receive any new facilities that would occupy the precious little green space that is included in the Master Plan."
Staff are recommending the entire subject area be designated as neighbourhood corridor and that a new corresponding policy be added to the OCP allowing for consideration of other commercial uses at Exhibition Park.
"The policy also provides support for secondary commercial uses that are already permitted in the Z2: Exhibition Park zone (eg. major auction, vehicle sale, major outdoor recreation)," said the staff report.
The proposed hotel is described as four storeys tall - the maximum allowable height under the neighbourhood corridor designation - with a "form and character consistent with the scale of Exhibition Park's regional facilities" such as the aquatic centre and Kin arenas.
The development would be 40 metres from Ospika Boulevard and about 230 metres north of the closest residential units at the corner of Ospika and 22nd Avenue. Access to the hotel will be from the Exhibition Park entrance off Ospika Boulevard.
The zoning amendment would add hotel use to the property, but no other commercial uses.
On Tuesday, council will also receive recommendations for the 2014 permissive tax exemptions and are expected to pass the first three readings of the associated bylaw.
These property tax exemptions are granted to places of worship, non-profit organizations, private school or other eligible tenants who apply. Council needs to have its tax exemption bylaws in place by Oct. 31 for the upcoming year as per the Community Charter, leaving the next scheduled council meeting of Oct. 23 for final reading.
In September, city council approved a new set of finance guidelines that removed the policy restricting exemptions to 1.5 per cent of the annual municipal tax levy.
The total estimaed value for the recommended 2014 exemptions is $1.35 million, or 1.63 per cent of the tax levy (based on the 2013 assessment).
Last year the list of exemptions exceeded that limit, which led council to cut the relief amount to 97 per cent of property taxes owed. The remainder was made up in the 2013 budget with a one-time $80,000 grant to the affected organizations.
A revised report on the permissive tax exemption program is set to come before the city's finance and audit committee next February.