Resident response to Development Application for 2590–98 Penrhyn St.

Mr. Chuck Bell, Planner
Current Planning Division
District of Saanich

Dear Chuck;

-Application for Development : Applicant: M.H.Johnston & Associates Inc.
-Site address: 2590/2594/2598 Penrhyn Street Folder No: DPR00660; REZ00578
– Purpose:  to rezone from RS-10 (Single Family Dwelling ) to RT-FC ( Attached Housing Four Corners ) to construct a 14 unit Townhouse Development.

This letter is in response to the application for development captioned above. We are property owners of 2595 Penrhyn Street (across the street from and facing the proposed development) and would be directly affected by this proposal. We have been aware of this proposal for some time and have actively participated in community feedback to our residents association ( the CBRA ) to date, as well as meeting privately with the developer to discuss our concerns. We also attended the developer’s open house in May 2016 where we submitted written comments. However the current proposal has not addressed our concerns.

We strongly oppose this proposed development due to building height, design, setback, overshadowing, traffic and zoning issues as detailed below. While we do not oppose the desire for higher density housing near village cores, the scope and design of what has been applied for, is in our opinion, completely inappropriate.

The Cadboro Bay Local Area Plan was last updated in 2002, is now out of date and yet individual projects continue to be submitted and approved without an overarching village plan in mind. The recently completed Elements building was approved despite significant resident and public concerns about height, design, parking and traffic. We strongly believe that our village plan should be updated before further “one off ” development continues.
The “ Attached Housing Four Corners” re- zoning requested by the developers, is in our view, not appropriate to the area between Cadboro Bay Village centre and Gyro Park. The proposed development area is currently an effective and necessary transition zone between three story and single story structures and the park and should remain so.

The project density as proposed is much too high at 14 units, especially considering that the existing zoning is for single family units. A density of 8-10 units of two story town homes similar to existing traditional home designs, would be more appropriate and provide for more green space. It could significantly reduce or virtually eliminate overshadowing of adjacent properties and maintain natural topographical site lines to the park as well as preserve some existing view corridors.

Design/Height/Setbacks and Greenspace:
In our view the height of any development at this site should not exceed two stories, be designed with peaked or semi- peaked rooflines and have more substantial setbacks and more landscaped green space. We have previously presented these ideas to the developer with little change happening. We believe that the townhomes at the corner of Sinclair and Cadboro Bay as well as Penrhyn Close represent the style, height and “look” that residents desire.
On this issue, the developer has shown to residents several examples of flat “west coast” designed residences recently constructed in Cadboro Bay. What he refuses to acknowledge and show are the numerous “ traditional peaked roof” residences also completed. Examples can be found along Cadboro Bay road, Arbutus road, Hobbs, adjacent to Gyro Park among other locations.

Communications, Prior input to Developer:
We have taken every opportunity to meet the developer in the early stages of design so that we could work with them to address issues or concerns. We personally contacted the developer and met in March of 2016 to discuss concerns about a preliminary design they had shared with the CBRA.. These concerns were Height, Design, Setbacks and Traffic calming.
We also attended the developer open house in May 2016 where we discussed and submitted our written comments, yet have not heard back directly from them. The current proposal reflects only very minor changes (decrease from 15 to 14 units and very minor increases in setbacks).
The developer sponsored open house appeared to be more interested in gauging public interest for housing demand and future sales opportunities rather than resident input on design, density etc.
In addition we have worked with CBRA and completed the CBRA survey which was widely circulated and well responded to. We strongly believe that those results reflect the voice of most residents in opposing the development as currently proposed. We are aware that CBRA has forwarded the survey results along with extensive written comments provided by survey respondents to your office. We trust that Saanich will continue to work with the CBRA and residents to ensure we can all be proud of future developments in our village area.

Traffic issues  in the village and particularly on lower Penrhyn street were identified many years ago and have continued to grow and have become more complex due to the mix of commercial and residential use. The volume of large and small trucks delivering goods and services to the rear of Pepper’s, the Pub, Starbucks and now the new commercial enterprises in the bottom of the Elements building are dangerous to pedestrians and at times restrict traffic flow into private residents further down Penryhn Street. More importantly this traffic co-mingles with high volumes of pedestrians leaving  Starbucks, towing paddle boards or kayaks rented in the village, and families with small children and pets who all use lower Penrhyn street for access into and out of Gyro Park. The risk for personal injury due to an accident ( with possible liabilities accruing to Saanich and property owners ) has become EXTREME!
This proposal as designed will add a further 15- 30 vehicles to that mix.
We have previously requested that the developer move access to the site further west to be adjacent to the elements building ( include sharing the cost of a traffic calming turnaround at this point and wider sidewalks on both sides of Penryhn from the turnaround into the park ( immediately adjacent to the existing roadway). This would create a new pedestrian friendly promenade into the park as lower Penrhyn property owners envisioned and shared previously with Saanich. Other than a bulged out sidewalk on the design schematic, the entrance to the proposed development is east of the requested turnaround and will only add more cars to the pedestrian risks mentioned above.

Thank you for taking the time to read our submission. We would appreciate confirmation that these concerns have been received and look forward to working together towards addressing them.

Rick and Lynda West
Penrhyn Street
Victoria BC


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