Colwood’s planning and land use committee sent the developers of a parcel of Royal Bay land back to the drawing board after an application to significantly increase the number of dwellings allowed on 467 Royal Bay Drive.
The application was unanimously opposed by the committee at a May 21 meeting. The application will now have to revamped by the developer in conjunction with city staff and residents.
“When developers come in that are not from the community and don’t know, sometimes it takes a bit of a learning curve,” said committee chair Coun. Shari Lukens. “I think there’s a new sense of how do we get to ‘yes’ and compromise on both sides.”
In 2006 council issued a development permit for the property allowing 38 units.
The numbered company that currently owns the land sought to build six buildings containing 55 attached townhouses and 15 residential apartments, for a total of 70 units.
The zoning amendment would have seen the density increase from 37 units per hectare to 49.7 units per hectare.
One building, fronting Royal Bay Drive, was planned to hold 30 townhouse units and 15 apartments.
Ian Pattullo a Promenade Crescent resident who attended the meeting, said all the homeowners in area have known since 2006 that buildings are going up, views will be at least partially blocked and the density of the area will increase.
What they object to is the increase from the original plan and the intrusiveness of the Royal Bay Drive building.
“They’re not dealing with any of us in good faith. … Our concerns have been ignored,” Pattullo said.
He believes the developers need to increase the density in order to recoup costs. The fact city staff recommended the changes also gives Pattullo concern.
“Staff did recommend to the planning department they move forward with bylaw amendments, and that’s a scary thought,” Pattullo said. “We didn’t feel as a community that the planning department was as open to talking to us as they seemed to be to talking to the developer. I think that process needs to change.”
About 160 members of the public attended the meeting and many spoke against the proposal.
“In the end, not everybody is going to be happy,” Lukens said. “We try to do the best that we can, the right thing for the community, and to keep us moving forward and committed to what many of us campaigned on, and that was to get more development in Colwood, increase the density in some areas.”
The application also included a contribution of $3,000 per unit to the Community Amenity Reserve Fund, a standard aspect of development. Contributions of $500 per unit each would also have gone towards affordable housing, public art and beautification.
Lukens anticipates a new proposal could come before committee in six to eight weeks.