The now empty lot at 410 Cook Street in Whitehorse on Jan. 19. As developers move forward with plans for a housing development that would feature 16 micro-units, they are asking city council for a zoning change that would reduce the number of required parking spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

The now empty lot at 410 Cook Street in Whitehorse on Jan. 19. As developers move forward with plans for a housing development that would feature 16 micro-units, they are asking city council for a zoning change that would reduce the number of required parking spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Developer asks for zoning change

Would reduce the number of required parking spaces

As developers move forward with plans for a housing project that would feature 16 micro-units at 410 Cook St., they are asking Whitehorse city council for a zoning change to reduce the number of required parking spaces to eight and eliminate a loading space.

Under current zoning regulations, the development would be required to have 11 parking spots and one loading space.

However, developers are asking for the zoning change due to space constraints on the property, city planner Siddhartha Agarwal explained to council at its Jan. 18 meeting.

It was announced in February 2020 that the affordable housing project being built by Energy North Construction would receive Yukon government funding through the Housing Indicatives Fund.

The fund provides up to $50,000 per affordable unit built in Whitehorse and up to $80,000 per affordable unit built in rural communities. In this case 10 of the 16 units will be affordable units with each unit an average of about 37 square metres. Three of the residential units will be accessible and barrier-free. The development is also proposed to feature two commercial spaces.

“The zoning bylaw requires the applicant to provide visitor parking spaces, a loading stall, as well as residential parking at one space per two units,” Agarwal said. “Due to space constraints on site, this is unfeasible for the development of affordable micro-unit housing. The applicant is asking council to waive the requirements for guest parking and loading space, and reduce the parking requirement for the residential use.”

Under the proposal the required residential parking spaces would change from eight (at one parking spot per two units) to seven (at less than one space per two units), from two spaces for visitor parking (at a required one spot for every seven units) to none, and from one required loading space for 930 cubic meters of gross floor area to none.

Commercial parking would remain the same at one space with an option to pay cash-in-lieu of providing that space.

Questioned by Coun. Steve Roddick on how much a developer would pay for the cash-in-lieu option, Agarwal indicated it’s approximately $16,000.

In his report to council, Agarwal noted that while micro-units allow for a form of more affordable housing largely targeted at students, couples without children, single/young professionals and those with low incomes, parking minimums can be a hindrance to those developments as they often restrict density and increase the costs of development.

“Parking minimums are calculated based on the number of units and not the size of units (or number of bedrooms),” Agarwal said. “Many municipalities in recent years have allowed for reduction or even removal of parking minimums to make housing projects feasible and promote active transportation.”

It’s proposed that to ensure the micro-units are built that the proposed parking regulations would only apply for units that are less than 40 square meters.

“Should the developer choose to build larger units, the usual provisions of the zoning bylaw will apply,” he said. “Additionally, no parking will be allocated exclusively to a unit to allow for efficient utilization by residents and commercial tenants.”

It was also pointed out that the last downtown parking management plan found there was a peak occupancy of on-street parking of 21 per cent in that area of Cook Street.

“This indicates that there may be adequate room for parking by potential candidates and employees, which can alternatively be used by visitors during evening hours and weekends,” it was noted in Agarwal’s report to council.

Questioned by Count. Laura Cabott, Agarwal said should the proposed parking changes not be approved, the developer would likely have to build fewer units due to the space that would be required for parking or the developer could provide underground parking which would make the project more costly to build.

Coun. Dan Boyd said he’s hoping residents will let the city know their thoughts on the proposal, pointing out there will be a public hearing if council passes first reading Jan. 25.

The public hearing would be held Feb. 22 with a report on the hearing going to council March 15, followed by second and third reading March 22.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

affordable housingWhitehorse city council

Just Posted

Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)
The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame inducts the late Lorraine Kuhn

Lorraine Kuhn became the newest member of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame for her work in growing volleyball amongst other sports

File Photo
A Yukon judge approved dangerous offender status for a man guilty of a string of assaults in 2020.
Yukon judge sentences dangerous offender to indefinite prison term

Herman Peter Thorn, 51, was given the sentence for 2020 assaults, history of violence

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read