York Place subdivision on hold

Oak Bay pressed pause on a York Place subdivision application pending heritage discussion

Coun. Kevin Murdoch

Coun. Kevin Murdoch

In the wake of a conversation on how and when to designate a house heritage, Oak Bay pressed pause on a subdivision application for a home on York Place.

Council, sitting as committee of the whole Jan. 16, opted to push the conversation to its February committee meeting.

The homeowners seek a rezoning as well as development variance permit for a two-lot subdivision at 1605 York Pl. The proposed development would rezone a portion of the property from One Family Residential Use (RS-2) to One Family Residential Use (RS-3). The site currently has one single family dwelling and a detached garage. Homeowners propose to subdivide and build a second single family home on the second lot.

The proposal would require variances for lot frontage and lot width as well as upgrades to infrastructure and protection of a number of trees, including an eagle nest tree. A development variance permit application is running concurrently with the rezoning application.

The existing home was originally designed by Francis Rattenbury and built in 1904.

“This is a historic home designed in part by Rattenbury,” said Mayor Nils Jensen, who later suggested the deferral to allow the homeowners to consider designating the home heritage.

The property owner agreed to put the house on the district’s heritage registry and pending the potential heritage conservation area proposal would look at designation. The home is in a neighbourhood under consideration for the community’s first HCA. The area is home to 11 of the 28 heritage-designated houses in Oak Bay and residents there hope to protect elements ranging from social history and architecture to landscape and viewscapes.

The registry is an opportunity to get more information on history and social history, said Coun. Kevin Murdoch, council liaison to the Heritage Commission.

“We kind of have to go through the first part first,” he said.

Jensen also noted Oak Bay is looking toward moving to a registry done by the district as opposed to the resident in the future anyway.

“I think we need the protection now. Anything can happen,” said Jensen. “The HCA may not come about.”

The homeowner pointed out the home has had renovations over the decades, and looks like one house from one side and a whole other era from the other.

In response to Coun. Eric Zhelka’s query on the potential to designate a portion of a house, council learned a designation could list a valuable heritage components to the home.

“I’m loathe to move forward without legislating designation,” Jensen said. “The best way is to work in advance.”

Coun. Hazel Braithwaite noted the homeowners, who attended the meeting, hadn’t yet been asked their thoughts.

“It’s not fair to ask that tonight,” Jensen said, suggesting it be put off to the next committee meeting.

Council agreed, with Braithwaite and Murdoch opposed.

Designation versus registry

• The Oak Bay Community Heritage Register is an official list of properties deemed to be of heritage value or character. It provides formal recognition for historic places and is a useful planning tool for other land-use planning processes in the municipality. It does not offer heritage protection, and is not a formal designation.

Heritage designation is a method of conserving places. Heritage designation is to preserve the key features of a building and/or land that give it a distinctive heritage character. In Oak Bay there are 28 heritage-designated homes and seven heritage-designated properties. Most are also listed in the Community Heritage Register.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff and volunteers at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea were disappointed by the theft of an educational porpoise skull likely taken on Jan. 8. (Courtesy of Tina Kelly)
Well-loved porpoise skull stolen from Sidney aquarium

Skull had been used for youth and visitor education and outreach for years

The Starbucks in Langford’s Westshore Town Centre is one of almost 300 storefronts that the U.S. coffee giant will be shutting across Canada by the end of March. (Google Maps)
Langford’s Westshore Town Centre Starbucks to close permanently

Popular coffee chain to close 300 storefronts across Canada by end of March

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

Royal Bay Secondary School (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke School District alerts community to coronavirus positive case at Royal Bay secondary

Contact tracing underway after potential COVID-19 exposure Jan. 15

An Oak Bay Police officer handed out five tickets for “fail to obey stop sign” and two tickets for using a cell phone while driving, all within two hours at King George Terrace on Jan. 11. (Oak Bay Police Twitter)
Man confronts unmasked group at Oak Bay Marina

Oak Bay police issue plenty of tickets in short King George Terrace visit

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Most Read