At an Aug. 10 public hearing, Saanich council unanimously approved construction of a four-storey, 26-unit rental apartment on Obed Avenue and Harriet Road.
The project was brought forward by Novus Property, which will also contribute $52,000 to Saanich Parks for future improvements to Gorge Park.
“It was considered a reasonable community amenity, since they’re converting from a single-family dwelling zone to a multi-family dwelling zone – so this means there’s an increase in value for the applicant,” said Mayor Fred Haynes in an interview.
To give back for that privilege, the contribution is a way to commit to areas of the community that need upgrades, he added.
In May, council approved sending the application to public hearing. Among the staff recommendations at the time included a requirement for the developer to obtain written permission from the neighbouring property owner to remove or alter trees on the adjacent properties. Further consideration of the developmental impact on surrounding trees was also requested.
The neighbours in question agreed to the proposed plan, so long as the developer compensated for the loss of several trees.
In a presentation Aug. 10, Novus’ landscape architect showed proposed plantings of a combination of tall Oregon grape trees, sword ferns and others they said would provide screening and a tree canopy for the neighbouring property.
The motion was heavily supported by council who agreed the proposal was thoughtfully and sustainably designed.
“It was the tree canopy piece that really caught council’s eye on this one, particularly with climate change mitigation, so that’s why there was a lot of stepping up by the applicant to address our concerns and we were very pleased,” Haynes said.
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