All present: Mayor Maja Tait and Councillors Jeff Bateman, Al Beddows, Ebony Logins, Megan McMath, Brenda Parkinson and Tony St-Pierre.
At the November 26 Regular Council Meeting, Council approved Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 714 (600-62), 2018 – 1923 Maple Ave.
John Brohman, the applicant, applied to amend the zoning of a portion of 1923 Maple Avenue from Medium Density Multi Family 2 (RM2) to Small Lot Residential (R3), which would allow him to rezoning the front of the lot to create two narrow lots. The applicant intends to sell the newly created lots and later develop multi-family on the remainder of the site.
For the two proposed lots, there will be two parking lots (one each). Any development happening later at the back lot will require 1.5 parking spots per unit.
At the Public Hearing a few residents spoke to matter. One neighbour who lives just a few doors down was concerned about fire-truck access to the lots, adding that the driveway going into the townhouses nearby is extremely narrow. Another citizens said the proposal was misleading and the drawings not detailed enough. This resident said that these small lot sizes are smaller than the small-lot zone currently allowed in Victoria. Spot-zoning was not the way to go, this citizen argued, adding Sooke residents are against Langford-style development. A third Sooke resident also found the lot size too small, and felt that lots should support families. Stamp sized lots do not support families.
The rezoning applicant, Brohman, reminded Council that housing diversity is an issue. Small houses are in demand, he argued. He’s owned that property since 2007, and currently he can put in 12 homes there. He said he was not interested in that type of density. He added that no one directly surrounding the property opposed his proposal.
Council then deliberated.
Councillor Beddows asked the Fire Chief if access was a concern for him. The Fire Chief did say that with the narrow access, handlines would have to be dragged from the road. Apparatus access is a concern. Beddows noted that on the one hand we’re looking for affordable housing, and with this being one of our aims this should be a supported development. The OCP address will be coming.
Councillor Logins said that lot sizes will be looked into in the future.
Councillor Parkinson was concerned about parking. Vehicles are not typically parked in garages, and every second car in the townhouse development next door was a big truck. Fire fighting access is impossible, and there’s no turn-around. Parkinson strongly felt that for this particular development, the road needs to be wider.
Councillor St-Pierre agreed that smaller square footage makes a lot of sense.
Councillor Bateman said he was looking forward to the upcoming OCP refresh, adding that he was quite alright with this application. It’s a property in the town centre, and the character of the neighbourhood will be kept. He, like Parkinson, had concerns about parking.
Mayor Tait added that she likes the diverse mix. She was OK with a smaller space and a smaller footprint.
The motion to “give Third reading to the bylaw cited as Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 714 (600-62), 2018” carried, with with Parkinson opposed.
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