Spot zoning issues keep coming up for North Saanich council, this time a request from a homeowner to turn one lot on Amity Drive into two smaller lots to accommodate a new home.
“I’m concerned with spot zoning,” said district councillor Elsie McMurphy, noting its impact could affect the character of local neighbourhoods.
She added the council needs an overall picture of how increased housing density in North Saanich will look.
The district is currently in the process of a public consultation on just that, having held a first open house with consultant Ed Grafone on Jan. 29.
“We need to do it deliberately, with the full picture in mind,” she said, adding rezoning should not happen “in spots” as its overall outcome is unknown.
McMurphy’s opinion on the issue, however, is in the minority on council. Most are of the option that increased density is needed to meet the demand for housing.
Coun. Ted Daily pointed out that the staff report details how this rezoning request will not have a significant impact on the character of the neighbourhood.
He also noted that the district’s own official community plan and residential land use regulations allow compact urban settlement and complies with policies for modest and slow housing growth.
Coun. Craig Mearns noted there have been redevelopments in the area in question already. However, he agreed with McMurphy that there should be a policy in place to limit the size of new structures to ensure they fit in with the neighbourhood.
Mayor Alice Final added the OCP’s sixth priority is to retain character in neighbourhoods and in her opinion, spot rezoning doesn’t do that. She noted that previous applications of this type were refused on that basis.
Council will give the application a chance to proceed, forwarding it after 5-2 vote to the advisory planning commission for consideration.