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Oak Bay home too modern for neighbours' tastes

May 05 2012

Oak Bay residents staged a rally Friday to protest a home they feel will be out of place in an established Monterey Avenue neighbourhood.

A modern house is going up in place of an aging traditional residence that stood on a lot in the 1000-block of Monterey. About a dozen residents gathered at the site and waved placards, while close to 50 people packed council chambers earlier in the week to voice their displeasure.

Residents at the rally said it was understandable that the house had to come down, but the design of its replacement is boxy and a total departure from surrounding homes.

Cynthia Knowlton, who lives next door to the lot, said she would like to see the municipality establish a design panel that could look at such projects prior to construction.

"I'd like to see them have a panel that has to go through plans with developers and decide that there would be some rules as to how they look when they're finished and what they can take off the land."

Knowlton said the issue of homes that don't fit in with the character of their neighbourhood has also come up in other parts of Oak Bay. "It's snowballing with new developments," she said.

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen acknowledged the number of people concerned about the home, but said provincial regulations give municipalities little control over architectural issues.

"The report we have from our staff is that the developer of this house has complied with the bylaws - the zoning bylaws, the building bylaws and tree bylaw - and once anyone complies with all of our laws, they're free to build what they want architecturally," Jensen said.


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