Esquimalt development application to add 2-storeys fails in tie vote

Esquimalt development application to add 2-storeys fails in tie vote
The developers of the 10-storey building submitted an application to add two more storeys to an under construction building at 899 Esquimalt Road, which has now been denied.

An application to add two more storeys to a development project in Esquimalt has failed after a tie vote on Monday.

Couns. Ken Armour, Jacob Helliwell and Mayor Barb Desjardins voted in favour of the motion, while Couns. Duncan Cavens, Tim Morrison and Darlene Rotchford were opposed. Coun. Andrea Boardman was not in attendance at the meeting.

Construction is already underway on the 10-storey project, and the developer asked to increase the height by two storeys, which would bring it up to the height of the original 2018 application of 12 storeys.

The additional two storeys would have added 16 more homes to the project, which Desjardins said would have been able to come onto the market faster than a new application.

“The opportunity to add 16 units is not going to make that much difference in the housing needs perspective,” she said in an interview with CHEK News.

“But the timeline by which it could have been produced would have been months, as opposed to years that any other proposal coming forward has to go through.”

Those opposed to the additional height said they had concerns with the inability to tie any of the units to affordability, as well as concerns raised by nearby residents both when the application was first discussed in 2018, and in this current amendment discussion.

“I voted in favour of the original application. And I did so because of the compromise that was reached after extensive community engagement,” said Morrison during the Feb. 26 meeting.

“What is the main motivator for us to make such a drastic decision on this? Understanding that entire history that’s happened behind us and wanting to move forward, I just don’t see it. I don’t see a compelling reason.”

When presenting the application to council, the developer was asked if the two new storeys could be made affordable units. The developer said it would not be possible as some units in the building had already been sold, which would be a material change that might have changed the minds of some of the buyers.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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