Development plan revs up parking issues

Critics says developer's plan for 1.5 parking spaces is too low; Sooke's mayor disagrees



As Sooke moves to create more affordable housing, vehicle parking continues to be a major issue, but district council must stay the course in encouraging use of other modes of transportation, says Mayor Maja Tait.

“It may not be happening at the moment, but that is what everyone desires to get to,” Tait said.

“We’ve reviewed it many times in the last year.”

Tait’s comments came last week as Sooke councillors held a public hearing into a rezoning application for a fourplex development at 6557 Clairview Rd. The rezoning would see the property changed from large lot residential to low density multifamily to build the two-storey complex.

The developer is required to have 1.5 parking stalls for each unit under the new zoning. Single home properties are allowed two.

Council-watcher Ellen Lewers asked why more parking spaces were not going to be available on the property, pointing out parking is an issue throughout the municipality.

“I’m just looking at this to make sure we’re not creating another situation where there’s more cars than we can [handle],” she said.

Coun. Kevin Pearson, while stating he supported the development, pointed out parking issues come up constantly in neighbourhood developments, and the district must ensure there is ample parking.

“It’s key we do the right thing in the right places. Parking needs to be on our minds in all of these areas,” he said.

Pearson’s comments were echoed by Coun. Brenda Parkinson, who said side streets throughout Sooke get congested with parked cars.

“We just have to make sure when we look at all the developments that there’s enough parking,” she said.

Coun. Ebony Logins said the area will be built up in the future and that if council doesn’t consider parking issues now, “it will get worse and worse over time,” adding the district may need to take another look at its parking bylaw policies.

Municipal planner Tara Johnson told council the developer – Darren Sopher of Victoria – did not need to apply for a parking variance because he was within the parking limits set in the rezoning, adding the property is located within walking distance to commercial and social amenities of the Sooke town centre.

Other issues brought up during the public hearing was water erosion on the property and a neighbouring property. Those issues will be dealt with through the subdivision and development standards bylaw, Johnson said.

Council is expected to approve the rezoning at its next meeting on Oct. 24.