Oak Bay letter: Where will zoning be protected?

Concern about the increased densification of Oak Bay an issue at the recent OCP meeting

I would like to express my concern about the increased densification of Oak Bay which was certainly an issue at the recent OCP meeting, as well as my concern that the phrase “to maximize public accessibility and use of the waterfront” has been removed from the current draft of the OCP.

My neighbours and I are dealing with a development proposal that directly relates to these issues.

I live on Beach Drive between the Oak Bay Beach Hotel and the marina. I’m not on the water side but, along with my neighbours, enjoy views of the water between the houses across the street. Our immediate neighbourhood  has been notified of a developer’s proposal to tear down the two historic waterfront houses at 1237/39 and 1231 Beach Drive built in 1907, change the zoning from single family to multi-family and build a nine unit, four storey condo/townhouse development with underground parking for 22 cars.

This development will not only block my views and my neighbours’ views of the water but also the ocean views of the hundreds of walkers, joggers, bikers, and drivers who enjoy this scenic route every day.

This stretch of Beach Drive, between the newly enlarged Oak Bay Beach Hotel and Glenlyon Norfolk school is the only remaining section of Beach Drive on the east side of Oak Bay where the water is visible.

To me this is a dramatic and inappropriate up-zoning from single to multi-family which will disrupt long standing historical view corridors and increase traffic congestion. More of Oak Bay’s valuable architectural history will be lost, replaced by a condo which is not in keeping with the style of the homes in the neighbourhood.

As higher density developments like this are permitted and historic homes are torn down, Beach Drive will no longer be the picturesque scenic route which is so enjoyed by all of us in Oak Bay as well as by visitors from the Greater Victoria area and tourists.

My concern (along with 185 of my immediate neighbours and other Oak Bay residents who have signed an on-going petition opposing this development) is that if council were to entertain moving these properties from single family to multi-family zoning, where in Oak Bay could the residents trust that their single-family zoning would remain protected?

Barb Colwill

Oak Bay

 

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