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Towers must meet conditions before public has say

Sep 21 2012

A proposal to build two 12-storey residential/commercial towers near Mayfair Mall will go to public hearing if a number of conditions are met.

The development — across Douglas Street from Mayfair Shopping Centre between Frances and Speed avenues — is a scaled-down version of an eight- and 14-storey development previously proposed by developer Brian Martin.

The new plan features 166 units in two towers and 10 townhouses. While the initial plan included affordable housing through a non-profit society, the new proposal does not.

The ground floor would have 26,000 square feet of light industrial and commercial space facing Frances.

City staff recommended against sending the plan to public hearing, citing issues such as parking, minimal greenspace, density and height and the fact that no comprehensive transit-orientated land-use planning has been developed for the Douglas Street corridor area.

But several councillors spoke in support of sending it to hearing, provided certain conditions were met.

“I think there should be more generous provisions for mid-rise housing along the entire Douglas Street corridor and branching out for several blocks in both directions,” Coun. Ben Isitt said.

The conditions include:

• That the proposal be reviewed by the Advisory Design Panel with special consideration to the project’s massing, height and greenspace, including the streetscaping and landscaping;

• Registration of a housing agreement on title to ensure there are no restrictions on rental;

• That the applicant pay for a third-party economic analysis to establish the value of the land lift and appropriate amenities;

• Streetscape improvements;

• Completion of a sanitary sewer impact assessment;

• Further consultation with the Burnside Gorge Community Association;

• Appropriate changes to the Official Community Plan and the Burnside Neighbourhood Plan.

Coun. Pam Madoff said it would be important to see what the economic analysis recommends for amenity improvements.

“Previously, we were looking at rental housing provided by a non-profit housing provider, and what I see here today is a proposal that does not include rental and does not require rental and that’s a substantial change,” Madoff said.

Care must be given to the development’s form and character because it could set the tone for future development in the area, she said.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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