All present: Mayor Maja Tait and Councillors Jeff Bateman, Al Beddows, Ebony Logins, Megan McMath, Brenda Parkinson and Tony St-Pierre.
Sooke Council narrowly supported a Zoning Amendment for 5651 Woodlands Rd following a public hearing at their November 26 Regular Council meeting. From the staff report, “[t]he applicant has applied for rezoning of their 1.75 hectare (4.33 acre) property from Rural Residential (RU4) to Neighbourhood Rural Residential (RU5) for the purposes of creating five new strata lots.”
A tree protection plan will be submitted. There will be an affordable housing contribution, cash in lieu at $1,000 per unit. A strata road will be built. CRD will still need to review the final water services.
Applicant John Saleski said he had purchased the property a few years ago, with the intention to live here. He has family looking for a place to live, and with housing as tight as it is from Victoria to Sooke, they decided to rezone to build homes for his family. John added that he is not interested in having suites in the area, and that he would be prepared to put that into writing as a restriction.
Engineer, Cory Brown from Island Engineering address concerns about possible flooding, during the wet and rainy season. He said draining was planned for and there would be proper run-off. A rockbed would be put into every lot. More details would be included at later stages.
In addition to submitted feedback (see below), Council also heard from the public.
Ellen, a resident in the area, had concerns about congestion at Woodlands and Sooke Roads, and questioned whether they would be able to accommodate growth. She urged Council to err on the side of caution, saying it was a rare rural area. Subdividing into two lots would be okay, but this seemed a bit much. She also had concerns about the water pressure. The Sooke Fire Chief indicated that the water pressure was approved.
Dale, resident on Woodland and a neighbour to the lot in question, had concerns about traffic and the narrowness of the road. A left hand turn from Woodlands to Sooke is already challenging. If this change was approved, he would then have three houses beside him instead of one, and he has concerns about privacy. He said he’s never seen a rock pit work. He was also concerned about winds bringing down some of the bigger trees. Daniel, son to Dale, also echoed his father’s concerns, and added an emphasis on the impact this change would have on wildlife.
Two other neighbours, Richard and Christine, also spoke in opposition to the amendment. They are worried about increased speculation (be developers?) in the area. With this development, there will be more wildlife interractions in the area as the wildlife lose more habitat. They were also concerned that if lot sizes continue shrink, there will be an increase in complaints on rural noises like that coming from chickens. They were sensitive to the need for housing, but at the risk of sounding like a NIMBY, felt that this development is not the answer.
When the conversation came back to Council, it was noted that this area is targeted for growth, so this rezoning would be in keeping with the OCP. Language could be added in the covenant that no suites would be allowed. The road would be maintained by the strata. Piped water would come in, and water would be fed and metered to each home, individually.
Councillor Parkinson moved the recommended motion, with the addition of the covenant that language be added that no suites will be allowed on that property.
Councillor Bateman spoke against the motion, saying it sets precedence, and inspires speculative purchasing in the future. The neighbours, he found, clearly do not want this, adding that the neighbours are standing up for their rural boundaries.
Councillor Logins noted the rezoning request was consistent with the OCP, but it’s ahead of it’s time in that the neighbours are clearly opposing this change. The intersection at Sooke Rd is pretty dangerous, one of the most dangerous in the area. The impact on wildlife and trees is also important. There will be a huge impact of children playing on the road. With Canada having a D- on physical activity, this will keep kids inside. The neighbourhood is clearly not in support of this.
Councillor St-Pierre, who opposed the motion, noted the OCP talks about three priorities: environment, people and economy. He also found that this change will add more congestion on Route 14.
Beddows supported the application. It is not an unreasonable request, he said, adding that they were going to be spacious, one acre lots.
Parkinson also supports the development. It’s for his family members she said, adding that she likes that there are large lots. She prefers this to small suites.
Tait noted she had supported it previously. She acknowledged that traffic is an issue, but it’s an issue for all places. She appreciates the concerns of the neighbourhood, and she sees the land owner striving to address their concerns.
Ultimately, the motion to give third reading to the bylaw cited as Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 720 (600-64), 2018 carried, with Tait, Parkinson, Beddows, and McMath in favour. Bateman, Logins, St-Pierre were opposed.
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- PH 1_B.Wallace_Correspondence
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- PH 1_C.J.Adkens_Correspondence
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- A 4.33 acre Woodlands Rd lot gets approval to rezone to five strata lots