How high or low will Langford go?
The city’s decision to reduce the height of two residential towers proposed for Costin Avenue near Centennial Park does address some, but not all of neighbours’ concerns, says Bernadette Armstrong.
Langford passed a resolution following a public hearing at the regular meeting of council on Jan. 18 to reduce the height of two towers to six storeys from the original 11.
Armstrong said many people spoke against the project because of the impact on the neighbourhood.
“We are pleased that Langford at least listened to some of our concerns and I’m glad Langford now provides audio of council meetings,” she said. “It adds transparency because when you read the minutes, it doesn’t tell you how people voted or what the comments were.”
Armstrong said many people would prefer four storeys at a maximum, or townhouses consisting of two or three bedrooms instead of the proposed one- and two-bedroom apartments. She believes the three buildings at Happy Valley and Sooke Road recently completed by the proponent, Ironclad Developments, would have been better suited to accommodating 11 storeys.
Armstrong said she moved to her home on Rodney Road near the proposed project 30 years go because of the larger lots and neighbourhood feel. “There’s already a lot of traffic noise, especially since the improvements to Leigh Road, and this will add to that. We feel we will be stuck in an area with tall buildings that obstruct our view. I’d move tomorrow if I could afford it, but Langford is no longer affordable.”
Armstrong also points out that she has to pay for sewers in the next year. “Who wants to pay $20,000 for sewers to sit in the shadow of a neighbourhood in the shadow of tall buildings? it’s very upsetting.”
She believes similar concerns expressed with a number of projects in the downtown core is a result of Langford not including height restrictions in changes to the Official Community Plan.
“The OCP refers to private outdoor space for adjacent properties being respected and that buildings complement type, use and character of adjacent buildings,” Armstrong said. “When the density changes were made, I wonder where they expected existing residents to go?”
Coun. Denise Blackwell, chair of Langford’s planning and zoning committee said the developer had made a number of different proposals for the property over a long period of time.
“When he came back with 11 and nine storeys I said I don’t think that will fly in that neighbourhood,” Blackwell said. “People shouldn’t say we don’t listen. We heard from the neighbours and cut it back to six storeys. It’s close to Leigh Road so I don’t think traffic will be a problem. It’s appropriate for that neighbourhood.”
Carlow Road resident Mathieu Blais said the traffic is already bad and he would like to see a crosswalk added at Costin Street, as well as sidewalks on both sides of Carlow and Bray Avenue. “The gravel sidewalk near Centennial Park isn’t good enough.”
He also believes two- and three-bedroom units or townhouses would be a better fit for an area with so many children. He wants the developer to include an area on the property for smokers to reduce the number of people smoking on the street.