Victoria councillors will consider today an updated proposal that would see two 12-storey residential-commercial towers built near Mayfair mall.
City staff are recommending against sending the plan to public hearing, though the proposal does have support on council.
The development - across Douglas Street from Mayfair Shopping Centre between Frances and Speed avenues - is a scaled-down version of an eight-and 14-storey development that Brian Martin first proposed to council in April.
While the initial plan included affordable housing through a non-profit society, this new proposal does not.
The new plan features two 12?storey towers. One would be stratified and for sale and the other would consist of rental units.
The ground floor would have 26,000 square feet of light industrial and commercial space facing Frances, running parallel to Speed.
It also calls for 10 townhomes on Speed Avenue.
A city staff report says the site is just outside the area designated as Mayfair Town Centre, which allows for more height (up to 10 storeys).
The proposal calls for only one parking space per unit where the requirement is 1.4.
The building covers 66 per cent of the site, where the typical maximum for a neighbourhood like this is 30 to 40 per cent, and has a green-space component of only 14 per cent, where the typical minimum is 40 to 50 per cent. And while it retains London Plane trees on Speed, it calls for the replacement of boulevard trees on Frances.
Consultant Mark Johnston, of M.H. Johnston and Associates, says the opportunity to provide higher density right beside the Douglas Street corridor - eyed as the future site of light rapid transit - makes sense.
"We see the higher density opportunity along the corridor as a good opportunity for the community," said Johnston.
In particular, he said, there is "the provision of some rental housing for a lot of the young people who work at Mayfair or who now work in Uptown where they can begin to get in the market by renting it and maybe eventually buying a unit in the facility."
Coun. Ben Isitt, who has been promoting the idea of new development in the area - a part of Victoria he calls the Midtown - agrees.
He says it's the right kind of development in the right spot.
"I'm generally supportive. I think that's the proper location in the city and region for density to occur," Isitt said.
"I think the height is reasonable. The location is perfect in terms of access to current and future transit, also a range of mixed uses and employment in the immediate vicinity. So I'm actually quite excited."
Isitt defines Midtown as the 1.8-square kilometre area of car lots, strip malls and single-storey buildings bounded by Blanshard Street to the east; Caledonia Avenue and Chatham Street to the south; Government Street, Gorge Road and Whittier Avenue to the west, and Boleskine and Saanich roads to the north.
But city staff and Coun. Pam Madoff note that no comprehensive transit-orientated land use planning has been developed for the Douglas Street corridor area.
"So if we do consider something in advance of a comprehensive plan, we should probably cast our minds to the notion that what we do approve could set the tone for future development," Madoff said.
There's also the question whether it's appropriate to put 176 units on a narrow dead-end street, she said.
A walkway has been incorporated into the design linking Speed and Frances.
The Speed Avenue townhouses would have private garden patios. firstname.lastname@example.org
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