Parking remains a small back-burner concern as Oak Bay approved a development application for the planned new three-storey mixed-use commercial and multifamily residential building at 713 St. Patrick St.
Four parking spaces and a handful of electric bikes will have to be enough as council OK’d variances for the development on the former Casey’s Market site. Those include the maximum permitted building height (11 feet higher), occupiable height (10 feet higher) and the number of storeys and minimum number of on-site vehicle parking spaces.
A parking study shows peak parking demand for the proposed development would be 10 parking spaces. Tweaks to transportation demand measures for the proposal lowered that to six, with the four proposed supported by municipal staff.
The proposal already included a bus pass for each of the six units and six strata electric bicycles with appropriate parking and storage with charging capabilities as well as six visitor bike parking spaces. Changes include adding two employee bike parking spaces and an electric bike for commercial tenant use.
The four on-site vehicle parking spaces will be assigned to residential units.
Coun. Hazel Braithwaite was the lone dissenter. She noted Oak Bay’s dated parking bylaws would see an overabundant 21 parking spots, but countered six would have been a good number.
“I can’t wrap my head around that it only has four,” she said, adding she was pleased to see it move forward, but had to vote against it based on those voicing concerns about parking in the area.
The balance of council found the compromise had value.
Coun. Andrew Appleton noted it’s a potential shortfall of two parking spots, contrasting against six badly needed new rental units in the community.
“This will add much needed rental stock,” agreed Coun. Cairine Green.
The building to replace the one-storey structure includes roughly 1,270 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor with six rental spaces on the second and third storeys. Living spaces would include four one-bedroom units with 600 square feet of floor area, and two two-bedroom units with about 958 sq. ft. A covenant ensures suites are to be rental units without age restriction and no short-term rentals.
The project also includes a 24-hour restroom for BC Transit bus operators.
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