Council Monday unanimously scheduled a public hearing for a project that promises to spread a unique type of residential zoning.
The public hearing will consider plans by Cadillac Developments Ltd. to build four single residence houses at 288 Cadillac Ave. in the Mount View Colquitz neighbourhood using the RS-1 zone.
Saanich introduced it as a site specific zone that has been used only once in 2000 in the building of Willowbrook Place and Rachel Anne Place near the intersection of Glanford Avenue with McKenzie Avenue. RS-1 permits smaller-than-usual single-family dwellings, and council heard in November 2016 that the zone is portable.
Cam Pringle, president of Cadillac Developments Ltd., cited this history in presenting his plans. They call for four detached single-family homes that would create what he called “workforce” housing for individuals, who might be working at Tillicum Centre, Uptown shopping centre and Victoria General Hospital. The proximity of the Galloping Goose Regional Trail and public transit would also make the homes accessible for alternative forms of transportation, he said.
Pringle said the project would appeal to families, who want to grow up in their own homes rather than duplexes with shared walls, or larger homes with secondary suites.
While a planning report acknowledged the need for in-filling in the area, it argued against sending the project to a public hearing. “The proposed 300 – 341m2 lot areas of the RS-1 (Single Family Dwelling McKenzie) Zone would be considerably smaller than the prevalent lot sizes in the area,” said Sharon Hvozdanski, planner.
Staff instead signaled that it could support the creation of one RD-1 (two-family dwelling) zoned parcel, and one RS-4 (single-family dwelling) zoned parcel with a secondary suite. “This would create the same number of dwelling units as the proposed RS-1 (single family dwelling McKenzie) zone, but on parcels with areas more compatible to the surrounding neighbourhood,” she said.
Several speakers, however, urged council to reject staff’s recommendation. Travis Lee, a prominent local developer and member of Saanich’s planning, transportation and economic development committee, said the project promises to diversify the housing supply. Area resident Carol Hamill agreed, saying if Saanich wants to be serious about increasing the diversity of available housing types, it should give this project a try, as it offers an affordable alternative. “These four houses fit perfectly into the character of the community,” she said.
Coun. Dean Murdock predicted that the project would find a “receptive marketplace,” adding that Saanich is currently exploring ways to infill. “This [neighbourhood] would potentially be a viable area for a zone such as this one,” he said.
Coun. Susan Brice said this is the type of project that might find favour with the public. But she also warned that it could generate opposition.