Sooke council is expected to approve more incentives to encourage developers to build underground and concealed parking in apartments, condos and townhouses.
Three readings were given to a motion Monday night that amends a zoning bylaw to reinstate an additional 10 units per hectare allowance for underground parking. In addition, building height may be increased by one storey and lot coverage by 10 per cent for putting in underground parking.
The same bonus density package was part of the zoning bylaw in 2006 but was repealed in 2013.
“We continue to have challenges encouraging underground parking and felt re-introduction of density bonus may be the extra piece needed,” said Sooke planning director Matthew Pawlow.
“Doing this will allow more units of various sizes, increase the affordability of the units and provide a greater incentive for underground and concealed parking.”
Hidden parking tends to foster a more aesthetically pleasing above-ground look and feel, leaving more room for green space while limiting stormwater runoff, heat islanding and car noise, a staff report to council stated.
Councillors at a public hearing on March 28 heard from a handful of residents on the issue.
Allan Dolan, a member of Transition Sooke, said the bylaw amendment gives the message of creating space for cars. Instead, he suggested council look at incentives to reduce cars and look at better options for transit, car-sharing, and electric cars.
William Wallace also was concerned about emissions and the dedication to cars in the community.
“We need to address that the car is the primary problem in Sooke, and we have to come up with solutions,” he said.
The zoning amendment is likely to pass at council’s April 11 meeting.