Sooke district council has approved development permits with parking variances for two affordable housing developments, despite concerns from area residents.
B.C. Housing, in partnership with M’akola Housing Society, plans to build a 75-unit complex at 2170 Charters Rd. and another 170-unit development at 2075 Drennan St.
Coun. Megan McMath says the projects address what she calls a crisis with the lack of affordable housing in Sooke.
The district received several letters from residents in the two areas concerned about parking, traffic, the projects’ size, and the destruction of riparian areas.
Coun. Al Beddows, the only councillor to vote against the parking variances, said expecting that people will have fewer cars if they live in an affordable housing complex in Sooke is naive. He said residents will still need to travel to Victoria for jobs, appointments and shopping.
“The parking is just out of touch with what is going to happen in Sooke,” he said
The two areas are zoned for medium density residential dwellings. The variances on the properties were to reduce parking requirements.
M’akola Housing Society asked that parking be reduced to one parking space from 1.5 per unit on the Drennan Street project and to 1.13 on Charters Rd.
The district’s zoning bylaw does not provide specific parking requirements for affordable housing, so the sites are subject to the same parking requirements for medium density residential properties, which is 1.5 spaces per unit.
“Many of the residents in these buildings will be in social assistance units, which means that those residents are significantly less likely to own a vehicle,” Matthew Pawlow, Sooke’s director of planning and development, said.
The housing will be close to transit and within walking distance of services.
Coun. Jeff Bateman said the two projects are a “made in Sooke solution” to affordable housing.
“The challenge is to the district to come up with some way to deal with the potential offsite traffic,” he said.
Construction of the projects will begin in 2021, with completion in about 18 months.