“If we approve this tonight, then it is something we can do.”
So said North Saanich Councillor Dunstan Browne.
On Monday night, in a 4-3 vote, council approved the subdivision of a property on Bourne Terrace. The owners applied to split the lot into two pieces. The second lot would either be sold or used to build a second house.
The owners had been turned down for the same subdivision request in 2006 and district staff were again recommending against council approving it this time.
Citing the municipality’s own strategic plan, staff reported the proposed change would not be in line with the neighbourhood’s form and character. Nor would the lot meet minimum size requirements for a second single family home.
Browne, in reviewing images of the area, said it looked to him to be an abandoned piece of property.
“If you just get a good house on there,” he said, “it would compliment the neighbourhood. In all my time on council, I’ve never seen a better example of where common sense should prevail.”
Coun. Elsie McMurphy said the state of someone’s property should not be used as a reason to violate the district’s own zoning bylaws.
“I don’t think we should zone by eyesore,” she said.
Coun. Celia Stock added creating a small lot size in that area opens the door for more.
“We have (bylaws) and there’s a reason for them,” Stock said.
Mayor Alice Finall said the subdivision of lots into smaller parcels is an overall council direction that should be addressed in a full review of North Saanich’s official community plan.
Browne added the district’s own advisory commission recommended the subdivision should take place. As well, a map showing the immediate area depicts similar-sized lots between Bourne Terrace and Ebor Terrace that are split into two properties.
Browne and councillors Ted Daly, Craig Mearns and Conny McBride supported a draft site-specific zoning amendment in addition to a community amenity contribution of $16,000 from the applicant.