Council Monday sent this proposal for a four-storey development on North Dairy Road opposite of the Hillside Shopping Centre back to the drawing board after concerns from area residents about parking, height and massing.

Council Monday sent this proposal for a four-storey development on North Dairy Road opposite of the Hillside Shopping Centre back to the drawing board after concerns from area residents about parking, height and massing.

Saanich parks housing development

Concerns about parking among other issues have stalled plans for a four-storey apartment building at the entrance of Saanich’s Shelbourne Valley.

Council Monday voted unanimously to postpone plans by Abstract Developments to build a 56-unit multi-family apartment building at the border between Saanich and Victoria directly opposite of Hillside Shopping Centre near the intersection of North Dairy Road and Shelbourne Street, an area where Saanich plans to increase density in a sustainable manner under the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan.

While several councillors praised the location of proposed development, they raised concerns about various designs details.

“You really have to think about how this fit into the existing neighourhood,” said acting mayor Coun. Judy Brownoff in addressing Mike Miller, president of Abstract Development, and his multi-person team. Others offered comparable comments.

‘These are not minor cosmetic concerns,” said Coun. Susan Brice. “These are about size and parking.”

“This is an ideal location, but it has missed the mark,” said Coun. Vicki Sanders. “Let’s go back, and come back with something acceptable to the community and council.”

Council’s decision to send applicants back for revisions came after neighbours had raised concerns about the potential impact of the development on the neighbourhood. Many comments focused on parking, specifically the number of spots and the type of spots. The proposal calls for 41 surface spots for resident and six for visitors for a total of 47, short of the existing bylaw that requires 67 for residents and 17 for visitors for a total of 84.

This gap prompted neighbourhood concerns about parking spilling onto neighbourhood streets, if Saanich would have granted the requested variances. But if the number of proposed parking spots would have fallen below required levels, they would have accounted for 42 per cent of the area that the lot covers — a “considerable” figure according to staff.

In short, the development as proposed would have been short of parking, while lacking visual appeal, according to its critics, a point made by Browning Street resident Bruce Fowler. “It is a monstrous building and a parking lot,” he said. “This is exactly the type of project we were trying to avoid with the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan.”

It calls for underground parking, said Fowler, who called on council to develop a mechanism that would require developers to justify surface parking, if under-ground parking is not economical.

“Surface parking should be the exception, not the rule,” said Fowler. This project, rightly or wrongly, will set a precedent for future ones through the Shelbourne Valley corridor, he said.

Other speakers focused on the proposed height of the building. Wordsworth Street resident Bailey Toupin said the proposed development would be higher than any other building in the vicinity at four storeys. While a nearby apartment building has a height of three storeys, it partly recesses, creating a more pleasing appearance, something missing from the proposed development, a point also noted by staff.

Renderings show considerable massing along North Dairy Road, and several speakers questioned the appeal of the building.

After hearing these concerns, Miller told council that his company rejected underground because the geology of the area would have made underground parking very costly. This said, Miller appeared agreeable to exploring two options to address the parking concerns: cut the number of the units, or re-consider the earlier rejection of underground parking.

“Either one of those [options], council would be interested in seeing,” said Coun. Dean Murdock, who proposed the postponement.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

June Saxe, 2, enjoys the sunny shoreline at Whiffin Spit with her dad on March 5. The family had come out from Victoria for a day in the sunshine. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Warm weather brings Sooke’s Whiffin Spit to life

Visitors, locals enjoy warm weather at coastal viewpoint

Funding requests for the 2021 budget year, submitted by the Administration and Finance Committee, was approved by Langford council at the Feb. 16 meeting. (Black Press Media file photo)
Food awareness, seniors among Langford’s approved 2021 funding requests

New and returning community organizations to receive financial boost

Underground utility installations are underway on Latoria Boulevard at Latoria Road near Royal Bay Secondary and on Metchosin Road south of Latoria Boulevard. (City of Colwood image)
Road work hinders Colwood drivers in Royal Bay

Underground utility installation could run most of March

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read