Council Monday sent this proposal for a four-storey development on North Dairy Road opposite of the Hillside Shopping Centre back to the drawing board after concerns from area residents about parking, height and massing.

Council Monday sent this proposal for a four-storey development on North Dairy Road opposite of the Hillside Shopping Centre back to the drawing board after concerns from area residents about parking, height and massing.

Saanich parks housing development

Concerns about parking among other issues have stalled plans for a four-storey apartment building at the entrance of Saanich’s Shelbourne Valley.

Council Monday voted unanimously to postpone plans by Abstract Developments to build a 56-unit multi-family apartment building at the border between Saanich and Victoria directly opposite of Hillside Shopping Centre near the intersection of North Dairy Road and Shelbourne Street, an area where Saanich plans to increase density in a sustainable manner under the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan.

While several councillors praised the location of proposed development, they raised concerns about various designs details.

“You really have to think about how this fit into the existing neighourhood,” said acting mayor Coun. Judy Brownoff in addressing Mike Miller, president of Abstract Development, and his multi-person team. Others offered comparable comments.

‘These are not minor cosmetic concerns,” said Coun. Susan Brice. “These are about size and parking.”

“This is an ideal location, but it has missed the mark,” said Coun. Vicki Sanders. “Let’s go back, and come back with something acceptable to the community and council.”

Council’s decision to send applicants back for revisions came after neighbours had raised concerns about the potential impact of the development on the neighbourhood. Many comments focused on parking, specifically the number of spots and the type of spots. The proposal calls for 41 surface spots for resident and six for visitors for a total of 47, short of the existing bylaw that requires 67 for residents and 17 for visitors for a total of 84.

This gap prompted neighbourhood concerns about parking spilling onto neighbourhood streets, if Saanich would have granted the requested variances. But if the number of proposed parking spots would have fallen below required levels, they would have accounted for 42 per cent of the area that the lot covers — a “considerable” figure according to staff.

In short, the development as proposed would have been short of parking, while lacking visual appeal, according to its critics, a point made by Browning Street resident Bruce Fowler. “It is a monstrous building and a parking lot,” he said. “This is exactly the type of project we were trying to avoid with the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan.”

It calls for underground parking, said Fowler, who called on council to develop a mechanism that would require developers to justify surface parking, if under-ground parking is not economical.

“Surface parking should be the exception, not the rule,” said Fowler. This project, rightly or wrongly, will set a precedent for future ones through the Shelbourne Valley corridor, he said.

Other speakers focused on the proposed height of the building. Wordsworth Street resident Bailey Toupin said the proposed development would be higher than any other building in the vicinity at four storeys. While a nearby apartment building has a height of three storeys, it partly recesses, creating a more pleasing appearance, something missing from the proposed development, a point also noted by staff.

Renderings show considerable massing along North Dairy Road, and several speakers questioned the appeal of the building.

After hearing these concerns, Miller told council that his company rejected underground because the geology of the area would have made underground parking very costly. This said, Miller appeared agreeable to exploring two options to address the parking concerns: cut the number of the units, or re-consider the earlier rejection of underground parking.

“Either one of those [options], council would be interested in seeing,” said Coun. Dean Murdock, who proposed the postponement.

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

Just Posted

From right: Brad Cameron, BCEHS superintendent of patient care delivery for Greater Victoria, with primary care paramedics Em Funk, Tyrone Trotter, Fiona Galvin and Peter Hill at the Leigh Road station. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore paramedics didn’t waver when faced with COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Emergency Health Services personnel are this year’s Courage and Bravery Award recipients

February is Black History Month. (Photo: Government of Canada)
Camosun College highlighting Black content with research guide during Black History Month

The collection includes a range of works by Black authors and creators

Amy Morrison was surprised to find a note on her windshield for parking on a public street with no restrictions in south Oak Bay where she works. (Amy Morrison Photo)
Oak Bay resident uses notes to claim street parking

‘You must have noticed, we park in front of OUR HOUSE,’ note writer says

Debra Sheets, a University of Victoria nursing professor, is starting Victoria’s first Memory Cafe program for adults with dementia and their caregivers. (Photo: Debra Sheets)
Memory Cafe Victoria hopes to connect local dementia community

Adults with dementia and their caregivers will participate in weekly Zoom socializing and activities

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Most Read