July 23 PLUC Early Thoughts

I’m thinking it will be a quick Planning and Use committee meeting tomorrow (agenda here). So what do we have?

2280 Forbes Street – Rezoning

This is a proposal to rezone the property to authorize a two lot subdivision and construct one new house on a small lot. Associated with this proposal is a Development Permit with Variances application to authorize the design and siting of a new house on the new small lot. The new house will include:

  • a two-storey building with a basement;
  • design elements such as a pitched roofline, distinctive front entryway and traditional style windows;
  • the exterior materials include cementitious siding, painted panel, exposed concrete, wood-painted brackets, and asphalt roof shingles parking would be provided in detached garages in the rear yard;
  • new hard and soft landscaping would be introduced.

Here is the neighbourhood:

2280 Forbes Street birds eye

Here is the proposed site plan:

2280 Forbes St

One odd procedural thing to this proposal is how the staff report notes that Jubilee Neighbourhood Plan guidelines apply and yet the Fernwood CALUC was consulted on the development because perhaps Fernwood has since absorbed this property within its boundaries. As noted in the letters from the applicant and Fernwood CALUC everyone seems to be in support of this application. A Public Hearing is required prior to Council making a final decision on the application.

C8-1 Dallas Road – Development Permit

This is a fun application to authorize an addition to a float home located at Fisherman’s Wharf. The addition would be on the second floor of the building and would enclose part of an existing patio area. The addition would be 6m in height and have a floor area of 11m2 .

Fishermans Wharf

According to the letter from the proponent:

Our proposal is to add an additional 11 square meters (118.3 sqft) of living space on top of an existing second floor deck. The proposal will allow us to have a ‘living room’ thereby greatly improving our quality of life. The enhanced ‘curb’ appeal will increase the attraction of the ever increasing number of tourist at Fisherman’s Wharf. The GVHA has reviewed the plans and has given us approval vis-a-vis the Fisherman’s Wharf Design Guidelines.

Fisherman's Wharf

I predict Consent Agenda.

361 and 363 Foul Bay Road – DVP

This is an application to authorize the design of a two-car garage in the rear yard of the property. The proposal is for the construction of a two-car garage in the rear yard of a three-suite conversion. The garage would replace two rear yard parking stalls. The proposed variances are related to an increase in overall site coverage, as well as rear yard site coverage and reducing flanking street setback.

361-63 Foul Bay

The interesting thing about this proposal comes from reading the applicant’s letter and his story of attempting to get the garage built through the Board of Variance – instead of this Development Variance Permit. But that didn’t work and so he had to come through Council instead. A slightly more detailed recapping of the applicant’s history with the city is provided in the staff report, but I must confess that it confuses me a tad. Here is the property:

361-63 Foul Bay Google Earth

As you can see, there are two partially covered spaces on one side of the property and the application is to build a garage to replace parking at the other side of the building (e.g., the red car). According to Schedule A of the Zoning bylaw, a garage is defined thusly:

“Garage” other than a private garage or car shelter means a building or part thereof which is used or intended to be used for the shelter or storage of, or for mechanical or body repairs, of motor vehicles for gain.

This is separate from the definition of “Accessory Building:

“Accessory Building” means a building that is subordinate to the principal use on a lot.

When you look in the staff report to see what’s going on, the only description of what’s being proposed for this new Garage is actually defined in a data table as an “accessory building” but then this was explained to me as common practice. Either way, here is a drawing of what’s proposed for the new 36.58m2 structure on the lot:

361 Foul Bay Garage

Required variances include:

  •  Section 1.6.6.a. – relaxation to increase site coverage from 30 percent to 41.10 percent;
  • Schedule F, 5.b – relaxation to increase the rear yard site coverage from 25 percent to 25.30 percent;
  • Schedule F, Section 4.c – relaxation to reduce the flanking street setback (Quixote Lane) from 7.50m to 5.91m. 3.

When it is all said and done, after Council passes it on the Consent agenda (prediction) and nobody shows up at the required Public hearing there won’t have been any substantive difference from a public scrutiny perspective, than if the property changes had been dealt with by the Board of Variance. Only difference will be the additional delay & additional money spent by the applicant.

Unless of course the Fairfield Gonzales CALUC comes up with some late correspondence in opposition to the project, but I’m disinclined to think they will. But then you never know.

330 Irving Road – DP with Variances

This is an application to authorize the design of a one-storey house on a panhandle lot to the rear of an existing house. Apparently the lot areas for the existing house and the new house would be 831m2 and 763m2 , respectively, which is to say that the area of the new panhandle lot would be considered large by City standards and would be larger than many properties in the immediate area.

According to the staff report, Specific details include:

  • total floor area of 197m2
  • incorporation of a single car garage and front yard parking pad
  • low retaining walls and grade to match neighbouring property to the south
  • flat roof
  • cladding materials include: smooth acrylic stucco, cultured stone, vinyl windows and stained wood.

A variety of Sustainability and Active Transportation features are also identified for this new development, which is shown below:

330 Irving

Two things to note about this proposal: 1) I’m unsure of its actual history and I mention this because the applicant’s letter is for “subdivision to construct a panhandle lot” while the staff report is only in regard to the characteristics of the newly proposal panhandle house (not subdivision…but then I guess that is because subdivisions are the responsibility of the approving officer not Council), and; 2) There were also some substantive concerns raised by neighbours and their support for the new house is conditional on these concerns being addressed.

Here’s the proposed lot layout of the new house:

330 Irving Birdseye

So we shall have to see what actually gets discussed tomorrow. It is noted that a public hearing is required prior to Council making a final decision on the application.

613 Herald Street – DP with Variances

This is an application to authorize the design of a five-storey, mixed-use building with ground-floor retail fronting Herald Street and residential uses above. Staff are recommending that the proposal be sent to the Advisory Design Panel for review and the following specifics are up for PLUC consideration tomorrow:

“That Council authorize the issuance of Development Permit Application No. 000377 for 613 Herald Street in accordance with:

  1. Plans date stamped June 18, 2015.
  2. Development meeting all Zoning Regulation Bylaw requirements, except for the following variances:
    1. Section 6.6.1 – Increase the maximum building height from 15m to 15.86m
    2. Section 6.8.3(b) – Reduce the front yard setback above 10m from 1.07m to 0.10m
    3. Section 6.8.5 – Reduce the minimum side yard setback from 4.50m to 0
    4. Section 6.8.6(ii) – Reduce the number of vehicle parking spaces from 70% of the number of dwelling units (21 spaces) to 40% (12 spaces)
  3. The submission of revised plans that address comments from the Advisory Design Panel to the satisfaction of City Staff.
  4. Removal of the Section 219 Covenant requirement for a car share vehicle.
  5. The applicant entering into a car share agreement with MODO to secure car share memberships for each unit.
  6. That a Car Share Agreement is in place to the satisfaction of MODO that will secure the fulfilment of the agreement in accordance with their standard practice.
  7. Council authorizing anchor-pinning into the City right-of-way provided that the applicant enters into an Encroachment Agreement in a form satisfactory to the City Solicitor and the Director of Engineering and Public Works.
  8. Receipt of evidence that the Application is in compliance with the Ministry of Environment’s Environmental Management Act as it pertains to potentially contaminated sites.
  9. Final plans to be in accordance with the plans identified above to the satisfaction of City Staff.
  10. The Development Permit lapsing two years from the date of this resolution.”

According to the staff report Specific details include:

  • 32 units fronting Herald Street
  • private balconies for all units
  • a total of 91,46m2 for two commercial retail units on the ground floor
  • at-grade parking for 12 vehicles at a ratio of 0.38 per unit (which is below the minimum requirements under Schedule C of the Zoning Regulation Bylaw), located behind the commercial retail units, accessed via a ramp off Herald Street
  • bicycle storage located at the basement level
  • publicly accessible bicycle parking is available for six bicycles, located off the vehicle access ramp on the ground floor
  • exterior light fixtures consistent with the Chinatown context
  • streetscape improvements to Herald Street consistent with the Chinatown pattern
  • exterior building materials consisting of:
    • a mixture of clay fired red and ebony brick veneer
    • smooth face cement panels with concealed fastenings and metal reveals along the front and rear elevations (north and south), which extend around a portion of the side elevations (east and west)
    • exposed concrete block painted in a brick red colour for the remainder of the side elevations (east and west)
    • vinyl residential windows and doors
    • pre-finished metal post rail system with decorative wrought iron pickets
    • clear anodized aluminium storefront windows with semi-translucent window graphics
    • laminated glass canopy.

Here is the property:

613 Herald Street

Here is the proposed building for the currently empty lot:

613 Herald Building

Attached at the end of the agenda package for this item, is a letter of concern from the 613 Herald CALUC saying that they cannot support the proposal as is – so we shall to see what happens tomorrow. A public hearing is required prior to Council making a final decision on the application.

Mandatory Seismic Upgrading Bylaw

This is a report that explore implications of proposing amendments to the Provincial Building Act that would allow the City of Victoria to require seismic upgrading to vulnerable buildings. More specifically, the staff recommendation is:

That Council consider engaging with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) to advocate to the Provincial Government for the following:

1. Provincial policy changes that would support mandatory seismic upgrading of existing buildings within earthquake-prone regions.

2. Examination of policy impacts to ensure mandatory upgrade regulations do not create an excessive financial disincentive for property-owners to upgrade heritage and unreinforced structures.

This report is in response to a new objective in Council’s strategic plan to: Explore potential for City to require upgrades to heritage buildings for seismic protection even where use is not changed, combined with subsidy program. All very political.

We shall have to see what happens – I don’t dare predict!

Liquor License Application Related Items

2330 Government Street – Special Event Area Endorsement

This is a report to seek Council approval for a permanent change to license a 60 person Special Events Area inside the Vancouver Island Brewery. It looks straight forward issue but I find it curious how, of the 6 letters of public correspondence on the application 5 are opposed and yet staff response is that reasons for this opposition are not relevant to the application on hand.

I don’t quite believe this personally. But we’ll have to see.

500 Oswego Street – Patron Participation

This is a report to seek Council approval for a small dance floor within the existing restaurant (O Bistro) at the Oswego Hotel. As noted in the Conclusion of the staff report:

The City’s current liquor licensing policy is silent about Patron Participation endorsements and Council has normally considered each application on its own merits. There are no noise or nuisance complaints received by the City in respect to this Food Primary business.

City staff from all Departments have few concerns about the proposed change to add a Patron Participation endorsement. However, it is noted that the addition of a dance floor will change the character of the restaurant, although it is unlikely this change would lead to any increase in noise or nuisance issues. The focus of the licensed business is to remain on the provision of food service with alcoholic beverage service.

The public consultation conducted by the City has resulted in largely positive feedback from the public (three respondents in favour and one opposed) which is a general indication that the community is supportive of the proposed changes. Therefore, a resolution supporting the application has been drafted to meet the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch requirements.

We shall have to see what happens!

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