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Townhomes approved for single-family lots off Shelbourne in Saanich

The Abstract Developments project will see nine three-storey townhomes built at 1661 and 1663 Freeman Ave.
A rendering of Abstract’s townhouse project on Freeman Avenue. VIA ABSTRACT DEVELOPMENTS

Saanich has given final approval for a nine-unit townhouse project on two lots currently the site of single-family houses off Shelbourne Street.

The Abstract Developments project, which will see nine three-storey townhomes built at 1661 and 1663 Freeman Ave., bypassed a public hearing and was approved 6-2 Monday night.

Coun. Karen Harper said the project is consistent with the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan’s call for condominiums and townhouses along its major corridors, adding complaints that the townhomes do not represent affordable housing weren’t enough to sway her vote.

Harper said council is often pushed to provide more affordable housing by residents who also reject denser forms of housing, such as townhouses and apartments. “These are not consistent goals,” she said.

Coun. Zac de Vries noted no one project can satisfy all needs and said there’s no denying the need for housing of all types.

“Every piece that we do as a district adds up, and I think this makes a very positive contribution,” he said. “One that makes the neighborhood more sustainable, more livable, more affordable, and more inclusive. ”

Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff said the Freeman development is the kind of project that will be built for the next 50 years.

“When we’re designing our cities, we should be designing them for 50 years in the future. And 50 years in the future, we are going to have more dense, walkable communities, especially on our core corridors,” he said. “This is one of those locations.”

Councillors Judy Brownoff and Nathalie Chambers voted against the project. Brownoff said she would have liked to see the townhouses stepped back from adjacent single-family homes.

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