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Public ‘angst’ remains over 4-storey proposal for Oak Bay Avenue: councillor

Oak Bay council expects to see rezoning bylaw Oct. 10
A rendering of the proposed Quest building at 2326 Oak Bay Ave. (Courtesy Large & Co.)

Public input is on the agenda for a four-storey building pitched for 2326 Oak Bay Ave.

Previous pitches for the building called Quest date back a decade. The latest application filed this spring would see a zoning change from single family to a comprehensive development zone to allow a 15-unit building with underground parking.

Currently housing a single-family home, the site is close to Oak Bay village and flanked by multi-unit buildings with a single-family home on the property behind. The site is designated in the official community plan as multi-unit residential.

Residents in the past have opposed the proposal with a petition titled “stop the quest” appearing online this summer. Outlined concerns echo those voiced previously, including parking, blasting, height, massing and setbacks.

Changes from previous iterations of the proposal include a slight reduction in height from 13.78 metres to 13.2 metres and an increase in units from 14 to 15. It also features the addition of solar panels and a commitment to five units as adaptable for accessibility.

RELATED: Quest for 4 storeys on Oak Bay Avenue back before council

Other tweaks in response to concern about an adjacent tree include changes to the building and parking to ensure an additional 60 square metres of root habitat for the neighbouring Garry oak. Staff noted that a district arborist has been involved throughout the application and is satisfied with the tree protection measures proposed.

The proposal also includes added and updated information with a revised tree management plan, revised transportation demand management strategy, a traffic and parking review, geotechnical study and feedback from a community information meeting held in April.

Developer Large & Co. would contribute $60,000 based on a district policy of a voluntary offering of $4,000 per unit. Off-site amenities including sidewalk improvements, an enhanced pedestrian crossing and landscaping to add another roughly $80,000.

Both Oak Bay’s advisory design panel and advisory planning commission supported the proposal during summer meetings.

RELATED: Four-storey Quest project pitched for Oak Bay Avenue – again

Voicing clear support, Coun. Lesley Watson made the motion to have staff move forward with zoning bylaw.

“This beautiful building ticks all the right boxes for our community and is in perfect alignment with our priorities and the OCP supporting our objectives to create a compact, walkable and bikeable community and ensure the vibrancy of our village centre,” Watson said.

Coun. Hazel Braithwaite noted that residents of the area are concerned and blasting questions remain.

“It’s something people have a lot of angst over, how is the blasting going to affect my property so that’s something we should be really aware of,” she said, encouraging the proponent to engage closely with residents.

New processes allow for public participation after the first two readings rather than the previously required public hearing. The zoning bylaw is expected to appear on the Oct. 10 meeting agenda.

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

Longtime journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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