Property owner asks Oak Bay council to deny variance

Owner did not want to cause neighbourhood dispute over new home

At least one property owner in Oak Bay has rethought his desire to build a larger-than-allowed home in the area.

Stan Sipos had a development variance permit in front of council May 14 asking to increase the paved front yard surface and building height of a new home on Radcliffe Lane, but a few of his new neighbours asked council not to allow it.

Charles Woodruff told council he and his wife had to make sure their new build on Hood Lane, just west of the proposed home on Radcliffe, had to be modified to meet neighbours’ demands. “(Sipos) should have to get a buy-in from neighbours and deal with their concerns, then go to council,” said Woodruff.

Coun. John Herbert commented that a bare lot should be able to be built on without any variances. “If I were to consider a variance, it makes sense to me that the neighbours agree with it,” he added.

In a letter to council, neighbour Gordon Wilson asked council to deny the variance. “Having a large, above-ground basement creates an unacceptably high house and the cube design interferes with available light and views,” he said.

Another neighbour asked council to have respect for the property. “It’s cruel to the lovely lot to put that on it,” Pamela Verduyn said. “I urge you to have them stay in what is allowed there.”

Neighbours against the development spoke for more than 40 minutes, and before council could bring the discussion back to the table, Sipos stepped up to the microphone. “It was never my intent to get people so worked up about this. … I’m not looking to aggravate people,” he said.

He then asked council to deny the variances and told them he would come back with a new plan for the property.