A local developer has altered plans for a seniors housing facility off of Range Road to increase spaces for vehicles through an underground parking lot.
The new plans for the proposed development at 468 Range Road were unveiled at Whitehorse city council’s Feb. 3 meeting.
KDC Developments had requested a boundary realignment with the lot behind it at 25 Rhine Way and a zoning change that would reduce the parking requirements from one stall for every two units to one parking stall for every four units.
KDC is proposing a five-storey, 84-unit housing facility that would provide supported services to residents — meals, housekeeping, social activities and the like.
It was made clear during a public hearing in January the proposal for reduced parking was a major issue for those living nearby.
Along with 12 people who addressed council in person mainly speaking out against the plans for reduced parking, the city received 50 written submissions on the proposal. Of those, 27 wrote were opposed to the project, another 19 expressed concerns with just four in favour.
Those who addressed council directly at the public hearing, pointed out there may be seniors looking to live in the building who continue to own their own vehicles and drive and that there would be a number of staff at the residence who may drive and also need parking. It was argued reduced parking on-site will lead to more parking on Range Road and side streets.
A number of regular commuters also pointed to the increasing amount of traffic on the road. Those who live in the area highlighted the difficulty in turning onto Range Road from other streets due to the visibility around the vehicles that are parked there.
Cyclists also said it’s difficult to make their way along the street due to the parked vehicles and traffic.
At the same time, many also recognized the need for more seniors housing in the city, but stated any development should at least meet the standard parking requirements for the zone.
Following the public hearing, David Borud, a director with KDC, told reporters officials would be looking at options available to address the concerns. Developers want the support of Whitehorse residents as they move forward with the project, he said.
“This is our community,” he said.
The design now includes a total of 52 parking spaces, significantly more than the 21 the developer was originally proposing and more than the 42 that are actually required under the bylaw. Of the 52 spots, 38 will be developed as underground parking.
In order to accommodate the other 14 surface-parking spaces, it’s now proposed the boundary realignment with 25 Rhine Way increase to 888 square metres from 557 square meters. There would be four surface parking spaces on the Range Road side of the building with another 10 in behind.
“Administration supports this change as (it) improves the overall design of the project and provides a response to the public input, while having minimal impact on the development potential of the neighbouring lot,” city planning manager Mélodie Simard said.
She went on to site the concerns expressed over traffic in the area, noting city staff are considering options for a Range Road corridor study that would look at traffic and safety there. Recommendations coming out of that could address some of those issues.
Simard said plans are in the works for improvements to the Two Mile Hill/Range Road intersection and highlighted the city-wide transportation study planned for 2021 as a few initiatives underway that could also improve traffic flow in the area.
Other issues that came up during the public hearing were also addressed with Simard stating the city followed the notification requirements to inform residents of the proposed zoning change and public hearing; and that the current CM1 zoning allows for the building as proposed.
Council will vote on the changes Feb. 10.
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