What began as a request for a paving variance for two proposed homes on Transit Road led to a neighbourhood open mic night Monday at the municipal hall.
Residents said the homes, as designed, would ruin the ambiance of the area, be visually unappealing and be too large to fit the prevailing style on their street.
Oak Bay councillors’ hands are tied in terms of changing the design or size of the houses slated for 519 and 521 Transit Rd. Nonetheless, residents used the paving variance application as an inroad to voice their disapproval. After listening to neighbours’ concerns, council unanimously rejected both permits.
Developer Chris Foyd of 519 Design Build said Tuesday that his company plans to redesign the house proposed for the lower portion of the hilly property as a way to reduce the amount of driveway pavement needed.
One house currently sits on the property.
“The (new) houses themselves are conforming. It’s the placement of the pavement and the parking that needs to be addressed,” Foyd said.
The proposed houses are 3,295 square feet and 2,385 sq. ft., respectively. Most homes on the street are between 1,500 and 3,000 sq. ft.
“I’m worried abut the drainage of water, as I live right across from them on a slope,” Larry MacDonald told councillors. “I am (also) worried about visual intrusion.”
Coun. Pam Copley said she would like to see more co-operation between the developers and the residents.
“I actually like the design in concept, but … I am not living there and not living next to it,” she said.
Transit Street resident Valerie Wyatt was happy councillors listened to neighbours’ concerns over the massing of the houses. “It’s up to the residents to protect the community,” she said.
The developers will have to resubmit new plans for the proposal, without any variance applications.