A downtown zoning bylaw is meant to make property zoning easier to navigate, but there may be unintended consequences. (Don Denton/BLACK PRESS)

A downtown zoning bylaw is meant to make property zoning easier to navigate, but there may be unintended consequences. (Don Denton/BLACK PRESS)

Omnibus zoning bylaw sent for revisions to prevent blanket upzoning in downtown Victoria

Up to 10 downtown properties identified by Downtown Residents Association

An omnibus zoning bylaw has been sent back for revisions after ten downtown lots were identified to potentially allow large developments or significant upzoning without further public notification and input.

Victoria city council cancelled a public hearing before considering the final draft of Zoning Bylaw 2017 Thursday (Dec. 14) evening after receiving a letter from the Downtown Residents Association (DRA). Had the bylaw been approved without amendments, eight lots along Quadra Street between Yates Street and Pandora Avenue, would have been up-zoned from a 1.5:1 to 3:1 density. The DRA previously identified two large properties between Herald, Fisgard and Store streets that could be amalgamated and developed without needing further approval, issues that were identified and discussed at committee of the whole the previous week.

Ian Sutherland, chair of the land use committee for the DRA, said he’s concerned public awareness and oversight could be lost in the process of simplifying the city’s zoning bylaws.

“Rezoning your property is not a right,” he said. “In order to get your property rezoned, you have to show it’s in the public good to do it, and that you might want to provide some amenities … because your property’s increasing in value.

“If a property requires rezoning today to build a condo, it should still require rezoning after this bylaw.”

RELATED: Omnibus Victoria zoning bylaw raises alarms

Sutherland noted he found those properties relatively quickly, and wondered why City, who has been working on the project for two years, did not flag these problems.

Mayor Lisa Helps said council sent staff back to study the DRA’s letter after counsellors received the latest letter the day of the hearing.

“The intention of the zoning bylaw is to make it simpler and easier, but it’s not meant to give any more density to property owners,” she said. “What we’ve asked our staff to do is to take one more look through based on the feedback from the DRA.

RELATED: New Victoria zoning bylaw would cut red tape for developers, downtown property owners

Although staff will review the letter, she noted that not everything the public asks for or says will make it into the bylaw.

“The key promise to the public is there is no upzoning of any land, any additional density, and we want to make sure the bylaw we bring forward reflects that,” she said.

The DRA, James Bay Neighbourhood Association, and Rockland Association previously sent letters to council and provided noting concerns about the bylaw, including unintentional upzoning, impact on parking requirements, and allowing micro suites.

Zoning Bylaw 2017 homogenizes upwards of 80 different zone types in downtown Victoria into three general types. It further includes changes to off-street parking requirements; creates definitions and regulations of brew pubs, distilleries, wineries and drinking establishments; and removes both light industrial and short-term rentals from acceptable land use.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

City of Victoriaomnibus zoning bylawzoningzoning bylaw 2017

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Victoria’s new downtown zoning aims to be easier for property owners to understand. The proposed new zones have been simplified down from 82 types. (City of Victoria map)

Victoria’s new downtown zoning aims to be easier for property owners to understand. The proposed new zones have been simplified down from 82 types. (City of Victoria map)

Just Posted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Funding boosts restoration efforts for Vancouver Island’s Garry oak ecosystems

Habitat Acquisition Trust will take on several Garry oak ecosystem restoration projects

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Most Read