Saanich Neighbourhood News

Potentially precedent-setting Penrhyn project divides community

A building planned for Penrhyn Street took two rounds of public hearing before getting the OK from council, but that only made the proposal better, says the development group.

“It’s always nice to see the community come together, as a result of that we think that our project is better for it … and better for the community,” said Sam Ganong, development manager with Abstract Developments. “When we first came into this, upon revising our proposal, we started to look at the downsizer market. We certainly heard there’s a market for that in this community.”

The three-storey building planned for 2580 and 2588 Penrhyn includes 14 residential units above two commercial office spaces.

Abstract presented the new plan to the Cadboro Bay Residents Association prior to the public hearing on Jan. 28, said association chair Jonathan Stoppi.

“It was quite a difference,” Stoppi said. “On the face of it you would think it wasn’t a great deal because what they’d done was reduce the number of residential units from 14 to 12.”

That reduced the parking variance required by more than half.

“(Opposition) was mostly around parking, the changes he made reduced the challenges for parking,” said Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard. “Those in favour were pleased with the changes the applicant had made.”

Changes included limiting the commercial space to offices, and dropping two residential units, which cut the parking variance from 19 to eight and allowed for slightly larger units.

“We felt it was necessary for us to say this is a great improvement but we still stand by our principal view that we can’t support anything that is asking for any variance really,” Stoppi said. The major concern is precedence for possible future proposals.

“It’s not the perfect project we would have liked to see, or the perfect precedent,” Stoppi said. “We hope it doesn’t spoil the situation for future developments down the road.”

“I think it’ll be good for the businesses there to have more residents in walking distance, and it provides alternative housing for residents as they age and still want to live there,” Leonard said.

The bylaw to rezone and allow for the parking variance passed third reading at the Jan. 28 meeting.

reporter@saanichnews.com

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