JBNA: CALUC / PARKING
The February 2018 James Bay Neighbourhood Association (JBNA) general meeting included two important CALUC presentations. Both presentations exceeded their time limits.
CALUC Proposal - 415-435 Michigan Street
This proposal for a 24-unit stacked townhouse development, with twelve two-bedroom units above twelve studio suites, is intended to provide rental accommodation for single and family occupancy. Six townhouse units will face Michigan St. and six units will face south to the pool side of the property. The design encourages roof-top gardening on the twelve upper two-bedroom units. Although the proponent continues to investigate the possibilities of urban agriculture on the site, it does not seem feasible.
A rezoning to allow for the shorter building is required; the current R3 zoning requires a 21m high building. Proposed density is not changing. The City of Victoria Official Community Plan (OCP) designates this site as urban residential. With its location adjacent to a large urban village, the proponent suggests that the requirements of the OCP have been met: ground-oriented low to mid-rise residential buildings, transportation and mobility, Placemaking, Urban design and Heritage, Housing Diversity (spirit + goals), rental stock at market rates.
A parking study for the site concludes that the new build requires 22 parking spaces, which will increase the demand to 140 vehicles from the current 129, implying a shortage of two parking spots (with planned use of on-street parking). The proposal would provide 130 parking stalls, well below city guidelines set out in Schedule “C”. Modo parking sites and bus routes within a five minute walking radius of the building were identified as the way to address lack of parking.
Most of the comments on this proposal related to additional living units on a street already overloaded. This is a street where residents report having illegally parked vehicles towed from their driveways, and City of Victoria trucks parked in the middle of the street. The parking consultant seems to have found a research window indicating that the street is not overused and, in fact, has vacant parking spaces. That is certainly not the experience of local residents. Residents note parking difficulties, the challenges for waste and recycle vehicles and question how Emergency Response vehicles will gain access when required. There was no indication how the vacancy rate in the existing buildings may have impacted the parking study.
Early settler development of James Bay, in the late 19 and early 20 century, were modest wooden homes on narrow streets. Streets in James Bay may be too narrow for sidewalks, or a choice may have been made to restrict road width to accommodate sidewalks and grass/tree space. Not all residences in James Bay have off-street parking. Historical zoning and parking limitations require mitigation of existing parking rather than adding to the overload. All streets are not created equal.
The other major concern is loss of green space. The proposed building setback is out of sync with the street, eliminating an important greenspace bordering Michigan. Taking the streetscape closer to the roadway could have a domino impact in years ahead. The proponent could not verify historic tree removal or other landscaping information. Start date for the project is eight to 10 months away with 1½ to 2 yrs to completion. No blasting is required. Parking for 32 bicycles is planned.
Although both CALUC presentations exceeded their time frames, the impact was felt by the second presentation; a number of residents left the JBNA meeting without having opportunity to voice their questions/opinions.
CALUC Development Proposal - 430 Parry Street
(71 in attendance)
The proposal to redevelop this 430 Parry Street indicates a unique U-shaped structure with a courtyard running north/south between two rows of stacked residential units. Thirteen units (a blend of two-storey units of 1200-1400 sq ft above 450-550 sq ft studio units) are proposed. The unit 'stacks' (four-storey in the front, five-storey in the rear) will sit on top of a parking area of nine proposed parking stalls. One of the parking stalls will house a car share vehicle included in the development.
The combined parking and lobby entrances front on Parry Street. An attempt has been made to blend with the Redstone complex through material selection and design. Minimal setbacks are planned on the other three sides of the complex. Landscaping is planned to screen the parking area and to provide greenery above the first floor in the courtyard area between the units.
Currently the property is zoned R-2. Spot-zoning is being sought.
Community concerns regarding this development centred on lack of parking, the large stark brick facades facing the street and the neighbours, and the large size of the development on a small lot. Parry is used by employees and others from the Community Project as there is a parking shortage at the Project and further downtown. The JBNA have been aware of parking difficulties on Parry for some time.
Neighbours were also concerned the effect the stacked units would have on available light for adjacent balconies and gardens. There was a suggestion that heights be limited to three storeys.
White Light – Too Bright?
The City is nearing the end of the installation of energy-efficient bulbs in the street lights. Residents adversely affected by bright lights shining through their windows, please contact Ed Robertson. Shields directing the light downwards are being installed upon request: <email@example.com>
The JBNA conducted a brief survey requesting input on some restriction of parking on Dallas Road. Most respondents were in favour of some sort of limit. As a result, a parking time limit trial period, on angle parking on the south side of Dallas near the Breakwater, has been requested. The JBNA Board has requested that the city implement a pilot program of 2 1/2 hours for the upcoming tourist season, before the Dallas Road trenching begins. Conveyance trenching is tentatively scheduled to begin in the fall.
The Wastewater Treatment 50% conveyance plans will be presented to Victoria City Council in a few weeks. There will not be another JBNA General Meeting at which the conveyance alignment will be discussed. JBNA will attempt to inform residents of the City of Victoria Public Hearing date if adequate notice is provided.
Join Us on March 14, 2018 at 234 Menzies at 7:00 p.m. for the next monthly meeting.
The March 2018 agenda will include an update by the Greater Victoria Public Library on the new James Bay Branch, the JBNA Active Transportation Committee will present the results of the Sharing Our Streets Survey, and a presentation on Rental Revitalization: the Prospect of Large-Scale Tenant Displacement (some presentations are tentative at this time).