Saanich signals support for several new developments

Council, meeting as committee-of-the-whole, signalled its support for a handful of commercial and residential developments.

Perhaps the most significant development was the re-development of an industrial site near a residential area off Lochside Drive, where Don Mann Excavating has been operating since 1975. Pending registration of a covenant, the company can go ahead with plans to replace an existing building with two buildings after council unanimously approved a development permit.

A three-storey office building facing the Lochside Trail and a four-storey mechanical shop shop tucked behind the office building would would replace the existing building.

While the office building located in the northeast corner of the site would appear partially visible from the trail, designing architect and company representative Ryan Hoyt said the development will use various features including mature trees to screen the development.

Coupled with the topography of the site, these elements will visually ease the development into the surrounding neighbourhood, while simultaneously separating it from surrounding residences and the recreation trail, said Hoyt.

The approved development represents a change from original plans, which had slated the southern end of the lot for re-development. But concerns from residents living in a nearby townhouse development about increased noise and dust led to a major re-design. “It was a win for these neighbours, and it ultimately worked out and it will suit the needs of Don Mann in the future,” said Hoyt.

“This is a very handsome building, and given that it is industrial, it’s really up a notch,” said Coun. Susan Brice.

She acknowledged the potential for conflict between industrial, residential and recreational uses in the area, specifically around parking and traffic.

Years past have witnessed conflicts with recreational users over parking. Residents have also raised concerns about the impact of dust during the summer months.

“But we know industrial land is so incredibly lacking in the whole Greater Victoria region and Saanich in particular,” she said. “It should be regarded as a gem, and I’m pleased to hear that there are some on-going discussions with staff to maximize parking.”

Councillors also unanimously supported the creation of panhandle lot off Reynolds Road directly across from Reynolds Park not far from the Saanich Centre at the intersection of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue.

Several residents of nearby Stan Wright Lane raised concerns about the impact of the proposed development on traffic, neighbourhood character, and the loss of seven Garry Oak trees.

Supporters, meanwhile, said the development promises to increase the supply of housing in the area through in-filling, arguments that ultimately prevailed.

Coun. Colin Plant said the proposal is an example of “logical in-filling.”

Coun. Fred Haynes said the application will replace the existing housing stock with a newer development that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and increase the supply of affordable housing through the addition of secondary suites.

Coun. Vicki Sanders, who lives on Stan Wright Lane, did not participate in the discussion after declaring a conflict of interest.

Subject to a covenant and final ratification, council also signed off on an application to create an additional lot on Kenmore Road in Saanich’s Gordon Head neighbourhood. The applicant plans to build two dwellings on the site.

Finally, councillors sent plans for a proposed sub-division to a future public hearing. The proposed sub-division requires rezoning and would result in two additional lots (three lots total) for single-residential homes with secondary suites on a lot bound by Cordova Bay Road, Temple Avenue, Totem Lane, and Major Road in the Cordova Bay neighbourhood. In fact, it would actually restore the original number of lots prior to the consolidation that had happened in 1959.

The proposal generated some opposition from neighbours, but not enough to stop council from sending it to public hearing.

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