Confusion steered discussions Monday night at Langford’s council meeting. With four public hearings on the agenda and another space allotted for public participation on any other items on that evening’s agenda, chambers were bustling with residents’ questions and concerns.
Most in attendance were there for the last hearing, relating to a package of three properties just off Happy Valley Road put forward by developer Paul King. A number of residents voiced concerns over the potential height of future buildings and safety concerns stemming from an overflow of parked cars.
But after a few people spoke on issues unrelated to the application, it became clear to council there was some confusion over what was being discussed.
One of the properties, at 3348 Vision Way, was being considered for rezoning from mixed-use commercial to allow three-storey, single family dwellings. That lot and others at 3342 Turnstone Dr. and 903 Tayberry Tce. were before council for approval of their amenity contributions.
The way the application was packaged led some residents to believe that all three properties were up for rezoning, forcing Mayor Stew Young to clarify what matters were up for discussion.
After apologizing for any confusion and explaining that only the Vision Way lot was up for rezoning – the other two already allow residential development – he was also forced to clarify details of the height restrictions.
The existing zoning allows for two storeys to a maximum of 10 metres or 33 feet. An increase to three storeys was requested. Flipping between different measurements added to confusion.
Staff members also clarified the City is moving towards using storeys as the measurement for height restrictions, not meters or feet, adding to frustrations.
“There’s a significant difference between 10 and 12 meters,” said Langford resident Michael Morgan, who lives in the area.
Michelle Morgan expressed her concerns later in the meeting, arguing that neighbouring houses on Vision Way are ranchers and the addition of three-storey houses on the lot in question would have a negative impact on the visual landscape. It was a view expressed by many.
King tried to ease residents’ concerns, promising that the proposed units for Vision Way would stand roughly 32 feet in height, or just under 10 metres. “We have no reason to go any higher,” he said, adding that 15 of 25 houses in the area were already three storeys high.
Another major concern brought up by residents was parking, which many said is already a problem in the area.
“I’ve actually had to pull up on the sidewalk to let a car pass,” said Michael Morgan.
The problem of overflowing street parking raised a number of safety concerns for residents and Young promised to have City engineers address the issue.
“I know what happens, the garage gets filled,” Young said, which leads residents to park on the street.
While a number of houses in the area have one-and-a-half parking spots allotted to them, King said his proposal planned for at least two spots. “We’re going to provide all of the parking we can,” he said. “It’s an advantage for us.”
He agreed to work with City staff to find ways to make the driveways large enough to park two cars, plus have a space in the garage of each unit.
Council ultimately voted to approve the application and amendments to the bylaw.