April 30 PLUC Early Thoughts

It is a decent sized agenda for Thursday with some interesting items.

Dockside Green 2014 Annual Report

The annual report is introduced by a short staff report that includes a welcome letter from Norm Shearing, President, Dockside Green Ltd. Also included in the agenda tomorrow is a Schedule J to the annual report that neatly summarizes accomplishments on various objectives/initiatives that were originally required in the Dockside Green Master Development Agreement.

Fun Fact about Dockside is that the Zoning Bylaw associated with it (CD9 Dockside District) seems to  be the most convoluted and  permissive of Comprehensive Development zones in the City. And why do I know this? I know this because I made a spreadsheet a few months ago out of a good portion of the City Zones.  Why? A spreadsheet database type thing makes much more sense than a series of individual pdfs, which is their current system.

324 Chester Avenue Rezoning & DPV

This is a proposal to rezone the property from the R1-B Zone, Single Family Dwelling District, to R1-B-GS2 Zone, Single Family Dwelling with Garden Suite for Plus Sites District, in order to permit a garden suite above an existing garage. In addition to the rezoning, a Development permit with variances is required to accommodate the increased height of the building, due to the garden suite being built on an existing garage instead of just the ground.

Seems kinda odd but hey.

2822-2826 Cedar Hill Road Rezoning & DPV

This is proposal to rezone the properties (2822-2826 Cedar Hill) from the R1-B Zone, Single Family Dwelling District, to R1-S2 Zone, Restricted Small Lot (Two Storey) District, in order to permit three small lots and the construction of one new small lot house. Additionally a Development Permit with Variances is required to accommodate decreased setbacks on all 3 lots, as well as increased grade of parking stalls for proposed lot A and B.

816 Government Street Rezoning HD/HAPV

There are three reports on the agenda tomorrow about proposed redevelopment of the old customs house on Government Street. The first report is for rezoning of the land to a site specific zone that contemplates bonus density in exchange for heritage conservation measures (report # 2) to be applied to the heritage registered building on the westerly portion of the lands. The Application also proposes new permitted uses including brewery, distillery and liquor retail store as an accessory use to a brewery or distillery.

The final report is a Heritage Alteration permit with variances application for the proposal to demolish the existing four-storey 1957 addition, alter the existing 1914 Customs House to allow for the construction of a multi-level underground parking structure, and adapt the 1914 Customs House for a mixed-use development that links into the construction of a seven-storey building on the same footprint as the existing 1957 addition.

Of note is that the proposed heritage revitalization agreement bylaw would have to first move through a public hearing prior to eventual adoption by Council. Review by the City Heritage Advisory Panel and Design Advisory Panel will also be required.

254 Belleville Street Development Permit

This is a proposal for an addition to the existing Victoria Clipper  ferry terminal and siting of a food truck. This addition would be to accommodate a new customer waiting space and washroom, and the terms of the DP are that a covenant be registered to see the addition removed after 5 years, or upon completion of a new ferry terminal. Why? I am not sure. Hopefully they talk about it tomorrow, so long as the proposal does not go through on the consent agenda.

1555 Jubilee Avenue DP with Variances

This is a proposal to create five additional residential units by filling in, existing under-building parking. The proposal requires eight variances: to reduce the minimum dwelling unit size, to reduce the overall parking requirement and siting of parking stalls, and siting, parcel coverage and open site space variances required for the bike storage building. The site is presently occupied by a 21-unit apartment building, built in 1969.

1555 Jubliee

Under the current R3-2 Zone, Multiple Dwelling Unit District, the property is developed close to its maximum density (see Data Table in report), with minimum additional development potential on this site, without a rezoning or a further reduction to the parking standards. According to the Conclusion section of the staff report (see page 6):

While the broader policy objectives of increasing the stock of rental housing is achieved, the addition of small units at the rear of a building facing a parking lot does not meet the intent of the design objectives. The applicant is proposing hard and soft landscaping features to emulate a secondary street frontage. Each unit is fully self-contained and would appear functional for the intended use.

A Parking Demand Study has been provided by the applicant to justify the parking ratio, and the dwelling unit to parking stall ratio is comparable to other developments in the area. The bike storage facility and bike rack are highly encouraged additions to the property. Despite the challenges associated with the requested variances and some challenging aspects of the proposed design, staff recommend this application for Council’s consideration.

This combined with the fact that no comment has been received from the the South Jubilee Neighbourhood Association makes me thing tomorrow’s discussion on this will be lengthy. That said, the Letter from the applicant for 1555 Jubilee talks about how the building in question is actually a student only building. And because it is a student only building, they don’t need much space or parking which is supported by a Parking Demand Study for 1555 Jubilee.

Which all makes the proposal seem more reasonable to me.

151 Oswego Heritage Alteration Permit Update

The saga of 151 Oswego continues tomorrow. The new item on the agenda is a letter from the current owner/builder (not the one who received the original rezoning/signed the original heritage revitalization agreement in 2014) that seems to expand upon what he spoke about to Council also on April 16th.

Of note is that the staff minutes from the April 16th PLUC seem to be missing the actual motion that was passed (see my summary), stating that consideration of the HAP be tabled consideration until receipt of additional legal advice.

Property Maintenance Bylaw Hearing

This is a hearing for internal construction that occurred without a permit at 865 View Street, otherwise known as the Chelsea building.  Of note is that the illegal construction in question occurred some time prior to 2012 and only came to the attention of the City in 2012 because someone, presumably renters in the floor below (?) complained about what was happening in the 12th floor.

The hearing is an opportunity for PLUC to consider placing notice on title as per section 57 of the BC Community Charter which is recommended by staff as part of a graduated enforcement strategy. 865 View Street

I count 11 floors – how many do you see?

The illegal construction in question occurred when what was supposed to be a recreation space on the 12th floor got converted without permits or permissions to a 4 bedroom residential dwelling unit complete with a kitchen and bathroom and two separate offices. This resulted in building, plumbing and electrical code violations, and since the November 2012 inspection, only the electrical violations are said to resolved. Of note is that zoning requirements specific to the 12th floor of this building apply only to office use, not residential.

When this file first came to a Property maintenance hearing at August 21, 2014 PLUC meeting, attachments to the staff report at the time seemed to indicate that the 12th floor had been vacated following interactions with city staff (see page 12). Video from the 2014 hearing itself was super brief as was also evidenced in the minutes from the meeting where a resolution was passed to postpone consideration of placing notice on title due to an apparent willingness of the owner to bring their property into compliance (see page 15).

However, time went by and nothing much came of this last willingness, as is noted in the most recent staff report on this file. Additionally, the original Bylaw Enforcement officer in charge of the file apparently left the employ of the City and a new senior Bylaw enforcement officer only picked it up  in December 2014 and then started doing stuff about it again in 2015.

What we still don’t know mind you, is whether the illegal suite is occupied (I assume not), whether additional complaints have been received about it and or even if it is still illegal in the sense that, no recent investigation report is provided. Based on my reading of the report, it just looks a Formal Letter was sent in January 2015 giving the owner 30 days to resolves all issues outstanding. If I received the letter myself, I must admit my own response would be “meh”.

Which is to say, I’m not expecting much on tomorrow. Especially since there is no indication that this latest turn of events has even been acknowledged by the owner of 865 View street. Nor is it mentioned whether or not Chelsea residents have been advised of the hearing that is occurring with respect to the 12th floor of their building? Fun Fact about the Chelsea – sounds like it has bed bugs!

It is also worthwhile to note that PLUC went against staff recommendation (to place notice on title) at their last property maintenance hearing which occurred on February 19, 2015.

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