The building at 220 Cook St. is one of four locations developer Urban Core Ventures is planning to tear down in order to build a five-storey mixed-use building. The developer is also proposing rezoning of 212 and 214 Cook St.

The building at 220 Cook St. is one of four locations developer Urban Core Ventures is planning to tear down in order to build a five-storey mixed-use building. The developer is also proposing rezoning of 212 and 214 Cook St.

City councillors eye more focus on neighbourhood plans

Conflicts between residents and developers could be reduced if there was a clearer vision for the city's villages, say councillors.

Conflicts between residents and developers in Cook Street Village could be reduced if the city were to develop a specific local area plan, say two Victoria city councillors.

“The problem that I’m seeing in all of our neighbourhood villages and along our transportation corridors, is that we have the overarching principle of the official community plan. . . but we have yet to do the local area planning that provides the specific vision for what’s appropriate in these villages,” said Coun. Pamela Madoff. “We need to put more resources into the planning department and really focus on those villages.”

As previously reported in the News, some residents are currently at odds with a developer in Cook Street Village who is proposing a five-storey mixed-used building.

Such conflicts come about because of the lack of a clear vision for the village, said Coun. Chris Coleman.

“The OCP says you want to build up density, and therefore some greater height in those village core areas,” said Coleman. “I think the cause of concern for some people in the neighbourhood is you need a secind lens, which is a local area plan, and that hasn’t been focused on for Cook Street Village.”

Although the city’s Official Community Plan states there will be 8,000 more residents in villages such as Cook Street Village, it does not show how we accomodate for those people and what that looks like, said Madoff, adding a local area plan would be particularly beneficial to developers.

“When I ask [developers] what is it [they] need to be successful, they say predictability,” said Madoff. “You could spend a lot of time coming in with a proposal, going back and forth and back and forth if there’s neighbourhood issues, whereas if we get the local area plan done, it shows what’s supported there, and you can go through the process so much more quickly.

“If we don’t get on top of it, we’re just going to have controversy around every time one of these applications comes through. That doesn’t bode well for the community or the development community.”