This artist’s rendering shows plans for a four-storey, 62-unit development opposite Hillside Centre for which Saanich has scheduled a public hearing.

This artist’s rendering shows plans for a four-storey, 62-unit development opposite Hillside Centre for which Saanich has scheduled a public hearing.

Hillside development heads to public hearing

Saanich development gets third hearing despite neighbourhood concerns

Saanich residents will have a third opportunity to comment on plans for a proposed multi-residential development near the municipality’s border with Victoria.

Council, meeting as committee of the whole, scheduled a public hearing Monday for plans for a four-storey building with 62 units opposite of Hillside Centre at 1586, 1588, 1592 North Dairy Rd. and 3200 Wordswroth St. after hearing from the applicants as well as residents.

Coun. Judy Brownoff said the project deserves a full public hearing because of the changes that the applicants had made to the earlier version of their proposal. It did not get past this stage in December 2017 after council had told the applicant to conduct additional community consultations.

Concerned residents had opposed the initial version on grounds of its height, massing and parking, and councillors once again heard several complaints about the height and the lack of parking. But the revised proposal did address one of the central concerns – the nature of parking, as well as other design elements.

While the initial application featured surface parking, the revised proposal includes underground parking. The ratio of parking spots per unit also rose, as did the number of stalls for bicycles and other types of vehicles, such as mopeds and motorized scooters. Staff and the applicants will also enter discussions about including a car-share service in the application to ameliorate public concerns about parking.

“That may be a creative solution to the problem,” said Coun. Dean Murdock.

Citing various current and future public infrastructure, Murdock said the location represents an ideal location for multi-family housing. “I don’t want to see this get hung up on the parking,” he said.

Coun. Colin Plant said this proposal highlights the tensions between larger planning goals, and local issues.

“This is the rubber hitting the road on the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan versus local neighbourhoods, because the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan calls exactly for this,” he said. “It even suggests four storeys.”

But Plant also chided the applicants for holding an open house in early January after submitting their revised plans. This said, he also acknowledged the stated willingness of the applicants to accept additional input from the community, with more to come in the future.

“We certainly heard a lot from council and the community on our original application,” said Korbin daSilva, development manager for Abstract Developments, in his opening remarks.