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

Test positivity rates in Greater Victoria from April 23 to 29. (BC CDC data)
Leaked data shows View Royal top of COVID-19 list for Greater Victoria

View Royal mayor says week was a blip for the township, not the norm

A member of the Downtown Victoria Business Association Clean Team works along Fort Street. The team will be working weekends from May through September, providing seven day a week coverage. (Photo courtesy DVBA)
Downtown Victoria cleanup service expanded for spring, summer

Clean Team members to patrol sidewalks seven days a week through September

Robyn Sealy of Parks Canada and carver Charles Elliot look at the new interpretive display unveiled May 4 at SMONECTEN, the new name of the former McDonald Campground in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve just north of Sidney. (Parks Canada/Submitted)
Campground near Sidney renamed to recognize First Nations

SMONECTEN is new name of former McDonald Campground in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

This rendering shows the proposed warehouse for lands under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority near a Sidney residential neighbourhood. (York Reality/Submitted).
Sidney warehouse proposal receives more than 40 public feedback comments

Sidney has until May 11 to submit comments to Victoria Airport Authority

Carolyn West plans to run each of the Victoria Goddess Runs this year, in support of Victoria Women’s Transition House Society. (Courtesy Carolyn West)
Runner tackles solo Goddess Run to raise funds for women, children fleeing violence

Women’s Transition House Society named official cause for Goddess Runs

(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’

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike grounds Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward comes away with the puck after a battle along the boards with Grizzlies defenceman Jake Veilleux. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Victoria Grizzlies named Island Champions

Grizzlies edged Alberni Valley Bulldogs in back-to-back matches to claim title

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

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

Most Read