1715 Government Street Victoria, BC V8W 1Z4 Mayor and Council
City of Victoria No.1 Centennial Square Victoria, BC V8W 1P6
December 11, 2016
Re: 848 Yates Street – Chard Developments – Development Permit Review
Dear Mayor Helps and Council,
The DRA LUC recently met with the applicant and reviewed the drawings for the abovementioned project.
Based on the information presented by the applicant, the purpose of the Development Permit is to create a 116 unit market rental apartment building fronting Johnson Street and a 112 unit market strata building with ground floor commercial space fronting Yates Street. Both buildings would be served by an underground parking structure with the entry from Johnson Street. Six townhouse units would also front the existing mid block walkway between Yates and Johnson Streets. Comments and concerns raised at the Land Use Committee meeting by the members are as follows;
Noise Issues. It was noted that there is a nightclub immediately adjacent to the east fronting Yates Street that has been in operation for many decades. Members pointed out that there have been serious livability issues with other recent residential projects built next to nightclubs without adequate consideration given by the developers to sound mitigation measures and full disclosure to owners. Members agree that there are expectations that sound transmission mitigation measures must be included within this project and that the existence of the nightclub and its possible livability effects be fully disclosed to any potential purchasers. The DRALUC Recognizes that late-night entertainment venues are a vital part of a culturally vibrant downtown and does not support the possibility of a longstanding entertainment venue being hounded out of business as a result of the lack of mitigation measures by the applicant or the lack of due diligence by the future owners.
Mid-Block Walkway. Based on decades of personal experience as downtown residents, members recommended in the strongest possible terms that the mid-block walkway along the western boundary of this proposal be secured late night. This particular midblock walk has been the focus of ongoing difficulties which necessitated the removal of all of the mature landscaping throughout its length to improve security. The viability of this development and especially the townhouse units depend on livability and safety for the residents and the general public alike, which cannot be attained without curtailing late night access. Late night closure will also lessen potential conflict between the existing nightclub patrons and the future residents. It is recommended that security gates be constructed at this time so as to be integrated with the building design in a quality fashion. It is noted that security gates installed after the fact by property managers rather than designers and builders are frequently unsightly and poorly integrated. It was also suggested that with some special effort the gates could possibly be integrated with some form of public art or sculpture making them an “invitation” for people to utilize the walkway during the daytime.
Parking Entry. The location of security gating for the parking entry is also a concern. It is recommended that the security gate be located as close to the street as possible to enhance security for the parking garage entry and deny sheltered unsecured areas for sleeping, congregating, etc. A second gate close to the street frontage closed only at night would also enhance building security.
Design Commended. The committee was pleased with the design and finishes that were proposed by the applicant in particular the articulation of the façade and quality of the cladding. It was suggested to utilize frosted or coloured glass panels in combination with clear glass panels on the balcony guards to obscure from public view at least a portion of the personal possessions commonly stored on balconies.
The DRA appreciates that the applicant has consulted with the DRALUC on this application and is aware of the noted concerns. We note that the applicant has a commendable record of successful downtown projects. The DRALUC supports this proposal as it appears to be of high quality, and will provide much needed rental as well as market strata accommodation for downtown residents.
Ian Sutherland Chair Land Use Committee Downtown Residents Association cc COV Planning