The latest vision for The Quest failed to hit public hearing in Oak Bay after council perusal March 14.
While there was consensus around the table housing is needed in the community, council opted not to move the latest version of a proposed development for 2326 Oak Bay Ave. forward.
The proposed redevelopment included demolition of an existing home, replacing it with a 14-unit multi-family building known as The Quest. The proposal required site-specific comprehensive development zoning to allow for setbacks, parking, and building height as compared to existing policy.
Massing remains the biggest concern among council, which voted narrowly to deny early readings and send the proposal to public hearing as staff recommended.
Different proposals for the site date back years. The latest plan for the single-family lot sandwiched between multi-storey residential buildings on Oak Bay Avenue included four storeys, 14 units and 14 underground parking spaces. The floor area ratio was reduced to 1.87, the building height reduced to 13.78 metres and previously proposed shared rooftop amenities removed.
The revised landscape and parking plan retained the Garry oak tree on the neighbouring property and included 10 new trees, 64 large shrubs, 161 medium to small shrubs and 836 other plantings.
The proposed condo units included three one-bedroom units, three two-bedroom, four one-bedroom plus den and four two-bedroom plus den, ranging in size from 710 to 1,152 square feet, each with outdoor space. However, proposed height and FAR still exceeded existing zoning policies.
“It seems to be too much for this particular location,” said Coun. Hazel Braithwaite, who made the motion not to send the proposal forward.
She said her hopes are the developer will come back with something such as townhouses or a scaled-down version of a building.
Coun. Cairine Green also cited concerns over the complexity of both vehicle and other traffic in that area of Oak Bay Avenue. The proposal included replacing the existing 1.5-metre-wide sidewalk with a two-metre sidewalk along the project frontage and a bump-out on the north side of Oak Bay Avenue at the St. Patrick Street crosswalk. A public bench in front was to be provided as part of the community amenity contribution along with cash.
She also voiced concerns over construction impacts, including traffic and blasting, on neighbours.
Council voted to deny The Quest proposal in a 4-3 vote – with Mayor Kevin Murdoch as well as Couns. Andrew Appleton and Tara Ney opposed.
Murdoch and Appleton both expressed a desire to have the project move forward to public hearing to gather feedback.
“We have not had an opportunity as a community to have a public hearing on this proposal,” Appleton said.
Ney called the lot – amid other three- and four-storey buildings – an orphan property. It is zoned single-family residential but designated for multi-unit development in the official community plan.
The archived proposal remains available for viewing on the Oak Bay development tracker at oakbay.ca/municipal-services/planning/development-application-tracker.
Editors note: This story was updated to clarify the rezoning request