Sooke elected officials held a public hearing on May 28 to consider a rezoning request for the ViewPointe Estates. The rezoning was a request for a lower density. The purpose of public hearing was to consider rezoning 7044 Maple Park Terrace from Spiritwood Estates Comprehensive Development Zone (CD9) to Small Lot Residential Zone (R3), and to rezone 7002 Brailsford Place from Rural Residential (RU4) to Small Lot Residential (R3). The amendment was proposed for the remaining lands currently included in the existing ViewPointe Estates project, with the addition of 7002 Brailsford into the development plan for a total of approximately 18.4 hectares. Ultimately, the request failed.
Currently, according to the Public Hearing package, the rezoning would reduce the current density from a maximum of approximately 448 residential units (mixture of multi residential and single family residential) to a maximum of approximately 157 residential lots (single family and duplex form).
The developer was proposing to contribute $1,000 per lot to the affordable housing fund (the standard is 10% of the development value, or $500 per door). This would have created a potential contribution of approximately $137,000.00. The developer was also promising that a minimum of 32% of the 18.4 hectares for park dedication, up from the previous 27%.
Concerns expressed by the public included a failure by the former developer to carry through on a promise to connect several existing homes to the sewer. That developer went bankrupt, and the promise to the existing homes went undelivered. Many felt that the current developer should have adopted the obligations attached to the previous developer.
Other concerns included the increased burden that the new homes would have on the existing traffic flow. For many, the current traffic was heavy enough; adding 137 homes (with each eligible to put in a suite) would bring a possible four-fold in car ownership in the area (two per house, two per suite). Parking, too, would be an issue.
Councillors were divided on affordability. Kasper noted that because all houses could be suited, it would add to the number of rental units available in Sooke. Mayor Tait felt that with the lots increasing in size, the homes would be bigger and more costly, and any rental units would be on the higher cost side of rentals. Tait wanted to know if a needs study had been conducted. It didn’t seem to exist. Logins felt that affordability shouldn’t be placed on developers, and that that was a matter that needed to be addressed first by the District. Pearson felt that the affordability was addressed by allowing suites in all homes.
Parkinson was concerned with the density, if all homes were suited. The parking problem alone would be challenging. She was also concerned that the proposed parks and playgrounds would mean additional costs for the District once the initial five year term (where the developer covers the costs) were up. Berger supported the density of this zone. Pearson also supported the reduced density (from 448 homes to 137). This development may not be perfect, but it’s better than anything than we’ve seen over the past ten years, he said.
The motion ultimately failed, ending in a tie 3-3 vote. Councillors Kasper, Pearson and Berger voted in favour of the rezoning; Councillors Logins and Parkinson and Mayor Tait opposed it. Kerrie Reay was not in attendance. This means that the existing zoning remains in place. As it currently stands, the zoning on the property at 7044 Maple Park Terrace was amended to CD9 in 2010 when the property was held by different ownership. In 2012 a development permit was issued for clearing, grading and silt control (environmental) under the previous ownership. That DP still stands in effect for the current development. In 2015 a development permit was issued to the new ownership group for form and character for Phase 1.
From the May 28 2018 meeting:
- Delegation: Lewers’ family asks the District to stand by their bylaws
- Senior Centre gets support in principle from District of Sooke
- Third reading to rezone ViewPointe Estates fails