One of the most prolific developers in Royal Oak was in Saanich council chambers on Monday to support a 36-unit townhouse proposal for 4355 Viewmont Ave.
Council pushed the application ahead to a public hearing. The development seeks a rezoning of the 1.5-acre parcel from A1 to R5 (agricultural use to medium density single family residential). The property is bordered on the south by the Saanich Tennis Club and to the east and north by the BC Hydro operations facility.
Only Coun. Vic Derman voted against going to public hearing, citing “too much density.”
It was the first time Ed Geric, proprietor of Mike Geric Construction, has formally addressed council in its current term, he said.
In response to the density issue, the proposal has been dropped from its initial application to build 38 three-storey attached homes. However, in pulling two units from the designs, council was interested in seeing a better use for the newly created green space at the public hearing.
“The deletion of units creates the appearance it was just the deletion of two units, and I agree there could be something done to give it more life, more community space,” said Coun. Dean Murdock.
Most of council shared the same desire.
Geric pointed out his company’s long history of establishing amenities in Royal Oak, including the rehabilitation of the original Royal Oak schoolhouse, which is now Crumsby’s Cafe.
The current proposal includes building 80 metres of sidewalk on Viewmont Avenue for $115,000 and contributing $50,000 to a brand new playground at Royal Oak middle school.
The Geric family company is currently building the final two buildings of the five-building Travino, which will encompass 250 condos on the grounds of the former Royal Oak middle school. It’s the latest development to near completion in the Royal Oak neighbourhood by Geric Construction.
Overall there was little opposition to the proposal, with scores of letters in support, and only questions of parking from the Royal Oak Community Association and the neighbouring Saanich Tennis Club.
The property previously had one dwelling but was not recently farmed. Geric Construction is putting $20,700 into Saanich’s Tree Replacement Fund as 226 of the lot’s 273 trees will be felled. Twenty-six of the trees would have been considered protected by the Saanich Tree Bylaw. The tree replacements will be planted elsewhere on the lot and neighbourhood.