Early plans by the Marker Group to develop residential housing on three vacant lots in Central Saanich has sparked interest in the community.
The application to rezone three vacant lots on Central Saanich Road and Saanich X Road (next to Keating Elementary School) came through at the April 28 planning and development committee meeting.
The three lots, which are currently zoned R1, would be rezoned into smaller lots to create 10 lots ranging in size from 3,347 sq ft to to 1,690 sq ft. Plans now show eight larger lots that would accommodate modest-sized homes — similar to the ones being built at the Canora Mews development in North Saanich — and two small “micro” lots that would have small homes built on them.
“We hosted a neighbourhood meeting at Keating School recently and there was generally good response from community members,” said Matt Peulen of Marker Group.
Peulen added there were some concerns voiced about traffic issues in the area but that people were generally supportive of seeing something done with the lot that has stood empty for years.
The homes will be marketed to young families and first time buyers, Peulen continued, with prices aiming to come in at under $500,000.
“Being so close to the elementary school, young families are very important to that neighbourhood,” he said.
Central Saanich council members seemed intrigued by the project, with only a few concerns voiced about amenity contributions from the developers.
“I think this is an interesting site. The proximity to the school and the industrial area and the fact that it’s on the bus route, I think the timing is right in light of our official community plan to be looking at more intensive land use on that site. I’ll be interested to hear what the public has to say about this project,” said Mayor Alastair Bryson.
Councillor Zeb King voiced his concerns during the presentation in regards to setting up an amenities plan early on in the planning process. Councillor John Garrison also inquired about the amenities being offered asking what types of upgrades Marker Group might be willing to look at in the area.
“Amenities are going to be a trade off,” said Grant Rogers, the owner of Marker Developments, adding that the group is currently looking at making road and sidewalk improvements to make sure the area is the safest possible for families.
“We don’t have any room to continuously keep adding to the list. We’re willing to consider things that fit into the budget but we need to stay in the under $500,000 range [with the properties]. Theres a number of amenities that could be considered in the area. If there is an opportunity here to do what’s safer, I think that is what the community wants here.”
Council voted unanimously to support the application and it will now be taken on by staff to proceed with the public notification and rezoning and development variance processes.