Saanich council deferred its decision on a 59-unit apartment building proposed for Raymond Street South to March 22 after a nearly five-hour public hearing on Tuesday night.
Residents and stakeholders weighed in on the six-storey development and rezoning application from 7 to 11 p.m. on March 16 before council closed public input and opened to the floor to the applicant, Abstract Developments.
In order to develop the condos at 3656 Raymond St. South, Abstract has applied to rezone the property from P-1 (public assembly) Zone to RA-11 (apartment) Zone, and for variances related to setbacks and parking. The application appeared before council in June 2020 and again that September before being sent to public hearing.
On Tuesday night, council heard “a real mix and range of views,” said Coun. Zac de Vries, adding that council will need to consider many factors and opinions when making a final decision.
Some speakers provided input by phone and others wrote in before the meeting. Concerns were raised about the loss of public assembly zoning and the existing daycare on the property, the affordability of the units and the increased traffic encroaching on the quiet dead-end street and nearby Galloping Goose Trail.
Those who supported the proposal noted that it would be a benefit to the community and bring increased density to an appropriate location near bus routes and bike paths.
After input concluded, Mike Miller, CEO and founder of Abstract, acknowledged questions and concerns. He noted the company is confident in its road safety plans and that while mixed uses were considered, there wouldn’t be room for the green-space required to include a daycare facility in the development. Miller also pointed out that, in partnership with the Capital Regional District and Saanich, 55 per cent of units would be “attainable to families with median income” and six would be sold for 10 per cent below market value.
Council ended the discussion at midnight and agreed to resume March 22 at 7 p.m. at which time councillors will debate before deciding whether or not to grant the rezoning and variance requests. There will be no further public feedback on the matter.