As required by a motion passed by Saanich Council at its meeting on September 16th, 2019, the developer (represented by Denise Kors) of Lot 855 scheduled a community meeting on January 18th, 2020. The Douglas Fir room at Commonwealth Place was booked from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. A flyer was prepared and circulated to all residences in the Falaise community.
The FCA felt a facilitator was needed to guarantee a well-run and productive meeting and arranged a contract with Bob Yates. The developer paid for the room rental while the FCA covered the cost of the facilitator.
The room was set up with tables and chairs and a projection screen. Bob Yates, in consultation with the developer and the FCA, prepared an agenda and a sheet summarizing the meetings that preceded this community meeting. The meeting began with formal presentations, which were followed by a lengthy question and answer session. There was excellent community engagement.
Since the Council meeting of September 16th, the developer has modified the proposal to save the dominant Garry oak on the property, #1986. She has also promised to look at the possibility of having a single driveway to serve both houses.
The main concerns raised by residents were: loss of mature Garry oak trees; increased on-street parking; the size of the proposed houses; and lack of privacy for nearby neighbours.
A report of the meeting is available here:
At its March meeting, Council asked the developer to produce a revised plan with smaller homes and one that might preserve more of the Garry oak trees. For several months, we heard nothing from the developer or the Saanich Planning Department. In midsummer,we approached the owner when he was mowing the grass on the property and was told that a new proposal had already been submitted.
Saanich Planning did not contact the FCA or nearby residents, as had been done with the original submission. Instead, we were told on short notice that the revised proposal would be considered by Council on September 16th. We were able to get the opinion of an arborist who issued a report stating that it should be possible to save the dominant Garry oak on the property.
Members of the FCA Executive, as well as several residents, made presentations to Council. All expressed disappointment with the revised proposal. Council passed a motion that further consideration of the proposal be delayed until there was consultation between the developer and the community association.
A video of the meeting is available here:
Go to about the 16 minute position to see start of presentations related to the rezoning application. Council deliberations begin near 1:20:00.
We have written to the developer, expressing a willingness to engage in consultation as soon as possible.
The proposed rezoning and subdivision of Lot 855 was the first item on the agenda for the Council meeting on Monday, March 4. The developer gave a presentation describing the development and this was followed by presentations from the community. Five members of the FCA Executive spoke, along with three local residents and an expert on Garry oaks. The video of the presentations is online:
Go to about the 17 minute position to see the start of the presentations.
Some members of Council were concerned about the protection of the Garry oaks. However, most were concerned about the size of the proposed houses. Council voted to postpone a decision and has asked the developer to produce a plan with houses more compatible with those in the neighbourhood.
We have received notice that Council will consider the rezoning and subdivision of Lot 855 at the Council meeting scheduled for Monday, March 4th, 2019 at 7 pm. This is a copy of the email announcing the meeting:
The report prepared by Director of Planning regarding the rezoning is available here:
Lot 855 on Falaise Cr has a new owner who has applied to have the lot rezoned and subdivided to accommodate two homes. The proposal is available here:
The Executive of the FCA has prepared a formal response to the proposal that takes into account the views expressed by the residents who live near the proposed development. The submission is reproduced below and was submitted to the Saanich Planning Department on May 4, 2018.
Submission by the Falaise Community Association (FCA) regarding the application for rezoning and subdivision of 855 Falaise Crescent
As the president of the Falaise Community Association Bob Lucy owns the lot adjacent to the above proposal he has recused himself from replying on behalf of the FCA to this application. Hence the Board has asked Mac Nanton as a Director of the Association, to provide FCA’s response as follows:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide input regarding this application.
A number of us have lived in this community for decades and have enjoyed the ambience, tranquility, and maturity of the neighbourhood afforded by the Garry Oak meadow and the adjacent secluded Falaise Park, an environment we will always strive to maintain.
We are very concerned with the following:
- The preservation of the healthy and mature Garry Oaks, and
- The impact of this proposed subdivision regarding increased traffic, the associated congestion/parking, and safety concerns related to the adjacent residents and people of all ages using the Falaise Crescent roadway for walking/biking (there are no sidewalks) and frequenting the Park.
We have met twice with the developer’s representative, Denise Kors, who has been very helpful in discussing the details of the proposed development, including efforts to protect those remaining Garry Oaks after the removal of the four largest of them. These meetings have included not only members of the FCA Executive but also adjacent neighbours to this proposed subdivision.
As a matter of interest, we have also contacted The Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society regarding this proposal who provided us with input we much appreciate, and which we have used in formulating our response.
Based on these discussions and our collective background, we propose the following recommendations:
FCA’s Preferred Option:
855 Falaise Crescent remain with it’s present zoning (A-1), the rezoning and subdivision application be denied, and the existing house be replaced, if the owner wishes, with a larger one but consistent with those in the neighbourhood. We note that the proposed subdivision requires the approval of a 2.5 metre variance (17.5 metres versus 20 metre standard width) in width of each of the new lots for the proposed RS-10 zoning. (The area of each lot is substantially more than the minimum requirement, but is long and narrow). Each of the new lots would be approximately 13% narrower than the standard width. By constructing a single larger home, probably only one large Garry Oak would be sacrificed and there would be little increased impact on traffic and parking on Falaise Crescent.
Applicant’s Proposed Option
Based on the developer’s proposed rezoning to RS-10 and approval by Saanich of the subdivision and variances, we have the following concerns:
a) Garry Oak Impact
This proposal would necessitate the removal of four mature and thriving Garry Oaks, whereas a single new home or a smaller footprint to each of the proposed homes would lead to a smaller decimation of the existing Garry Oaks on both newly created lots.
b) Traffic, Parking and Safety Impacts
These proposed large homes show 5-6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms each, with a combined total of 10-12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms on the two lots. The proposed zoning permits these homes to become boarding establishments. With these homes having 6 bathrooms and 5-6 bedrooms, there is a good probability that 3 parking spots /house will be inadequate. For some years parking has not been permitted on the subdivision’s side of Falaise Crescent due to the narrowness and almost rural nature of the street and the considerable regular traffic, and further exacerbated by the overspill parking generated by large attendances from the adjacent funeral facilities.
This proposed subdivision abutting on to the south end of Falaise Park is well used by FCA residents and visitors alike, including children, seniors and handicapped. If this proposal is approved, we will be faced with the potential for illegal parking along the east side and congestion in the resident parking allowed on the west side, there being no sidewalks on the east side adjacent to the Park. Increased density will increase the accident potential at, and in the vicinity of, this subdivision adjacent to the Park.
Therefore, if Council chooses to approve the subdivision, in order to adequately cater to the proposed subdivision by safely accommodating the obvious overflow parking requirement, it is suggested that off-street parking be provided at the developer’s expense along the east side of Falaise Crescent and on Park land. This would mean that Falaise Crescent be widened in front of the Park to provide several pull off-locations that could accommodate overflow parking both for residents of the new sub-division and visitors to Falaise Park, which currently has no parking facilities.
A more viable option would be to propose smaller house footprints which could then provide less density/residents, more room for on-site parking within each newly created lot, and hopefully reduce the number of mature Garry Oaks removed.
As discussed above, the FCA is extremely concerned about the proposed rezoning and subdivision proposal, especially with the proposed removal of what we all regard as a protected Garry Oak Meadow, and the potential for an unsafe neighbourhood generated by this subdivision. Council must:
- Decide whether preserving this Garry Oak Meadow is more important than increased tax revenue from adding an infill lot – a lot that requires decimation of these Garry Oaks,
- Seriously address the potential for illegal parking on Falaise Crescent that could be generated by these two lots and the likelihood of more accidents due to insufficient on-site parking.
If the FCA can provide further input, please contact us.
Thanks again for asking us to provide input for this proposal.
FALAISE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
4613 Royal Wood Court