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Letter to Council: 952 Johnson Street – Rezoning – McCalls Funeral Home

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

August 18, 2018

Re: 952 Johnson Street – Rezoning – McCalls Funeral Home

Dear Mayor Helps and Council,

The DRA LUC hosted a CALUC meeting on 5 July 2018 for the above-mentioned application. 22 members of the public attended the meeting.

Based on the information presented by the applicant, the purpose of this application is to rezone from S-2 (Funeral Home) to a 101 Unit 16 Storey residential building. The McCall’s Funeral chapel designed by renowned local mid century modern architect John di Castri will be designated heritage and preserved as part of the application. A Floor Space Ratio of 5:1 is proposed for the site. The OCP designation is currently 5.5:1 for the local area. A one storey variance is sought due to the preservation of the Chapel.

The applicant proposes to retain this building as a market rental apartment if at all possible. Parking will be at minimum in accordance with Schedule C.

Comments and concerns raised at the Land Use Committee community meeting and by committee members are as follows;

• There were concerns expressed by a great many attendees regarding the excessive construction noise that will be produced by this site and others in Harris Green and the continuing disregard of the Noise Bylaw by contractors and lack of response by Bylaw Enforcement or adequate penalties to dissuade such activities. • There were concerns expressed by the neighbouring property owners immediately to the west regarding potential impacts that the proposed street wall would have on their building which doesn’t have a street wall and is set back significantly from the street. It was suggested that the streetwall for this application be set back diagonally on the western corner to provide a better transition to the neighbouring property. The applicant agreed to approach the city regarding a solution • Owners of the neighbouring property to the west expressed concerns regarding the sealing of existing block walls on the shared property line. The applicant agreed to work with the property owners regarding providing a seal between the two buildings at the top of the existing block wall • Concerns were expressed regarding the appropriateness of the streetwall concept in Harris Green regarding the provision of greenspace and gardens. Setbacks would provide more green space and a better pedestrian experience • Attendees were complimentary of the aesthetics of the proposed design and the way it angles over the di Castri Chapel. It also provides a nice contrast to the building being developed across the street. • Concerns were expressed regarding the potential for light pollution that might come from the building. The building at 1075 Pandora developed by the same applicant was cited as a problem for adjacent property owners with exposed hallway lighting adversely affecting their livability. • Attendees complimented the proposed solid upstand of the balcony treatment of the proposed building which appeared much superior aesthetically to the usual extruded aluminum and clear glass. • Attendees were very positive regarding the proposed Heritage Designation and preservation of the John di Castri designed Funeral Chapel that exists on the site. Attendees stated concerns that any alterations to the building be minimal and that the applicant’s proposal to replace the existing masonry “prow” feature on the front facade with glazing would be inappropriate

No attendees spoke in opposition to the proposal.

The DRALUC acknowledges that this proposal appears to be of high quality, and will provide needed rental accommodation for downtown residents while complying with the OCP.


Ian Sutherland Chair Land Use Committee Downtown Residents Association

cc COV Planning

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