Groundwork will soon be underway for Uptown Village, a 24-unit residential development on a treed property north of Askew’s.
Last Monday, following a public hearing, council approved both a development permit, with variance, for the property at 2810 15th Ave. NE , as well as authorized the developer to begin clearing trees subject to the city engineering department’s approval of a soil erosion and settlement control plan.
The proposed development will include one five-unit building, three triplexes and one duplex.
During the hearing, the owner of a property in a neighbouring development voiced concern regarding privacy and the height of five-unit building in the south-east corner of the property, as the variance was to increase the maximum height from 10 to 12.2 metres. Architect Mark Lamerton explained how it’s easy to hit the height limit with a three-storey structure in the R4 Medium Density Residential zone, particularly when on a slope.
“What then starts to work against you is once you introduce a bit of slope to the site, then your average elevation on your lowest slope gets lower, and combine that with any kind of roof pitch – and we’ve actually gone with a fairly shallow roof pitch – the variance comes into play.”
Council later noted how the five-unit structure would be staggered away from the property line. In addition, the rear balconies will be on the second floor, not the third,
It was also asked if all the trees would be removed from the property, and if a line of trees could be left along the south-east end. The property’s owner, Uptown Ventures Ltd.’s Randy Meise, explained to get the higher densities, it’s difficult to leave the existing trees.
“We tried to look at selectively leaving some but as soon as we excavate away from the roots, it will actually compromise the integrity of that tree,” said Meise. “You’d have some liability on that.”
Meise was amenable, however, to the suggestion of possibly planting taller trees.
Coun. Ken Jamieson said the development was well suited to the property and the privacy issue will wasn’t as much of a concern as once thought.
“We’ve already heard from the developers… they’re willing to work with neighbours and I really hope you go door to door and you talk to people or even have a community meeting,” said Jamieson. “I think that would be a good thing to do.”
As for the removal of trees, Jamieson noted how much of the area was heavily treed at one time and, “as much as I don’t like to see trees cut down, I know at least some of them are going to be put back and it’s going to create more housing in Salmon Arm which is what we badly need so I support the application.”
Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond said the city needs to embrace opportunities for multi-family residential development, or else risk seeing it driven to the outskirts of the city.
“That’s more driving, more roads, lower density, less efficient land use,” said Wallace Richmond. “So I feel strongly of a net benefit of an R4 in a walkable neighbourhood will, with time, have a greater benefit and because of that I’m happy to support it.”