Letter to Council: 727 Johnson Street – Review of Amended Drawings

1715 Government Street Victoria, BC V8W 1Z4

Mayor and Council City of Victoria No.1 Centennial Square Victoria, BC V8W 1P6

May 16, 2016

Re: REZ00502 – 727 Johnson Street – Review of Amended Drawings

Dear Mayor Helps and Council,

A CALUC meeting was held for this proposal on September 8th, 2015 and a letter outlining concerns was submitted on January 22, 2016. The DRA LUC has reviewed the amended drawings submitted April 12, 2016. While the applicant has addressed some concerns put forward by the CALUC process, there are concerns that remain unaddressed.

While the applicant has made an effort to address the concern that additional stories not be visible from the sidewalk across the street, no effort has been made to address the concern that “any additional storeys that are constructed maintain the architectural style, rhythm, colours and materials palette of the original facade in order to deemphasize those additions. The proposed additional storeys are of a style and material incongruent with the Heritage Building.” While the additional stories may not be immediately visible from the sidewalk across the street they will be plainly visible from neighbouring properties and obliquely from the street.

The LUC would like to emphasize that as this application is for a designated heritage building and it is apparent that the applicant will be seeking a ten-year tax incentive for seismic upgrading of the building as well as any “Building Incentive Grants” from the City of Victoria that may be available. This should be considered a significant contribution of public funds and it is recommended that Council not approve any granting for any application that includes insensitively designed additional storeys on designated buildings.

The DRA supports this proposal in principle as it is likely to add vitality to an area much in need. However the architectural treatment of the additional stories as currently proposed appear too incongruent with the original designated heritage building to support at this time.

Sincerely,

Ian Sutherland Chair Land Use Committee Downtown Residents Association cc Planning and Development Department

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