April 30 PLUC Summary & Observations

It was interesting meeting this morning with a varied agenda. There were big complex projects up for discussion and there was also a number of other interesting policy issues that were discussed. Video of the meeting is here

Dockside Green 2014 Annual Report

The Dockside delegation consisted of 4 people:

  • Norm Shearing, President, Dockside Green Ltd.
  • A. Dewji, Development Manager, Dockside Green Ltd.
  • D. Lee, Landscape Architect, PWL
  • K. Marler, Architect, HCMA

As noted in the staff report that accompanied this item the purpose of this annual appearance before PLUC is to report on accomplishment towards development of this site. Mr. Shearing started things off this morning by speaking of how in the past they have “dreaded coming to these meetings” but 2014 was actually a busy year and so they actually have things to report.

General accomplishment are presented in the Annual report itself and then more detailed tracking of accomplishments on particular requirements of the Master Development Agreement for Dockside Green is available in what they call Schedule J to the report. Here also is the ppt that was shown by Dockside reps to PLUC this morning.

General themes from this morning is that Dockside said they recognize the need for more social sustainability and social/culture focused development/support at this site as they work towards completion. Members of Council were also fairly consistent in their appreciation for there actually being action again at the site. Everyone also seems to appreciate that Dockside was moving forward with their final housing affordability component, that is affordable rentals for 370 and 384 Harbour Road.

Dockside Affordable Housing

As noted in the staff report, an DP application for this housing was received by the City on February 25 for 49 affordable rental residential units and will be coming forward to PLUC shortly.

Councillor Loveday as the Vic West rep did his due diligence and asked all the questions he was supposed to ask on behalf of the Vic West Community Association – and I say this as the VWCA Secretary.  On the question of sustainability standards, he was told that developers are looking for Leed Platinum for the neighbourhood and that 40% of this platinum classification comes from buildings. Apparently the commercial buildings will all be Leed Gold.

On the question of whether Dockside will be completing the sustainability centre (originally promised in the 2005 agreement I believe) he was given a quick “no”. This was then elaborated on and it was explained that being able to put more money aside for community amenities (instead of the sustainability centre) with greatly increased parkspace was a better option (than the sustainability centre) for the larger community.

On the question of when Dockside will be connecting back with the Vic West Community Association, the developers suggested this would happen in June. Loveday also asked staff about the approval process for the temporary Dockside Beta development option where shipping containers will be brought in to support different food and retail. Staff response to this question was a bit confusing, but the general conclusion was that Council will receive the applications when they come in.

So we’ll have to see what comes first.

324 Chester Avenue Rezoning & DPV

As noted yesterday, 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.

Notable discussion was that in response to the concern from Loveday about this proposal stretching the definition of “garden suite” (in that it sounds more like a garage addition for a secondary suite), Young indicated that he went and visited the site this morning and found that the backyard (the typical location of garden suites) could be considered “inhospitable”. Hence the garden suite on top of the garage. Here was the ppt that was shown by staff.

The proposal for rezoning and variances was passed along to Council and will move on to PH at some point in the future.

2822-2826 Cedar Hill Road Rezoning & DPV

As noted yesterday, 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.

Here is the ppt that was shown by staff.

Young was really the only one who spoke up to say that he is not normally a fan of small lot development, but that this one on Cedar Hill makes sense for its proximity to transportation. The proposal for rezoning and variances was passed along to Council and will move on to PH at some point in the future.

816 Government Street Rezoning HD/HAPV

I actually found the staff presentation (video here) on this proposal quite interesting and had to watch it again to make sure I had a somewhat accurate understanding of what is being proposed. It was the first time I had seen this planner at the PLUC table. He was also fun to watch as he listened to Council discussion on his project, as he kept tensely bumping his fingers together under the table.

In general, a number of the councillors were confused about what was being proposed and so there was a fair bit of repetition that went on this morning. In sum, as noted in the rezoning report from staff, the part of the building along Government street will be removed while the part of the building along Wharf and Courtenay will be retained and the facade enhanced. Government St Birds Eye

The end result based on feedback received by the Advisory Design Panel and Heritage Advisory Panel (+ a heritage consultant apparently) as well as public input through the typical rezoning and Development with variance process, is proposed to be something like below:

816 Government Front

The general point of friction for Council this morning is that staff are proposing to forgo the typical amenity contribution that is expected (as a result of  the economic benefits recognized by owner through rezoning) so that the owner has more money to instead conduct necessary seismic upgrading of the heritage structure and also complete facade upgrades as well.

Ultimately, the proposal moved forward to Council with unanimous approval for subsequent review as well as a later public hearing.

Check out the developer’s website for more.

254 Belleville Street Development Permit

This proposal for an addition to the existing Victoria Clipper  ferry terminal and siting of a food truck got passed on the Consent Agenda along with the minutes from the April 16 PLUC.

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.

Here is the staff presentation.

Young had some decent questions about access to these new sites which the planner struggled to answer. One again the applicant was allowed to speak to PLUC because the planner was not able. Of note is that the City Manager seemed to be doing some serious glaring at the planner throughout her presentation as well. She seems to deserve it mind you.


Where Young had concerns Mayor Helps spoke emphatically of how this proposal reflects recommendations of the Affordable Housing Task force (that was announced today but met Thursday) in how the suites are smaller (more affordable) and there is less parking (more public transport which is also more affordable). When the vote was called to move the proposal forward to Council, Young and Lucas were opposed.

151 Oswego Heritage Alteration Permit Update

The saga of 151 Oswego continued and Madoff tried to up the ante for consequence sake and add a $10,000 penalty for the current builder/owner to the staff recommendation:

“That Council authorize the issuance of Heritage Alteration Permit Application No. 00197 for 151 Oswego Street in accordance with:

  1. Plans date stamped February 11, 2015.
  2. Development meeting all Zoning Regulation Bylaw requirements.”

“That Council instruct staff to amend the Heritage Revitalization Agreement for 151 Oswego Street subject to the owner providing a letter of consent and in accordance with:

  1. Plans date stamped February 11, 2015.
  2. Letters of engagement from the Registered Professionals, dated November 30, 2014, and January 5, 2015, respectively.”

This amendment narrowly failed though as implications of the recent letter from the current owner/builder (not the one who received the original rezoning/signed the original heritage revitalization agreement in 2014) were touched upon, and it was also emphasized that staff have continued to work to move the owner towards compliance with the original heritage revitalization agreement.


The staff recommendation as written then narrowly passed.

Property Maintenance Bylaw Hearing

This was a “hearing” for internal construction that occurred without a permit on the 12th floor of the building at 865 View Street, otherwise known as the Chelsea building.  Council agreed to move the staff recommendation to place notice on title. This occurred in absence of the owner and I will be writing more about it tomorrow when I have some time. Have to get ready for Council now!



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