Whitehorse city council has passed the first reading of a zoning bylaw specific to Whistle Bend’s commercial centre that is planned along Keno Way on Nov. 25. A public hearing will be held Jan. 13. (Google maps)

Plan for Keno Way commercial zone moves ahead

Public hearing scheduled for Jan. 13

Whitehorse city council has passed the first reading of a zoning bylaw specific to Whistle Bend’s commercial centre planned along Keno Way.

Council approved first reading Nov. 25. The public hearing ahead of two final readings will be held Jan. 13.

The proposed zoning would establish “a more urban design for Keno Way that is focused on pedestrian-friendly scale and uses that will create vitality along the street,” city planning manager Mélodie Simard stated in an administrative report brought forward Nov. 18.

The rules for that part of Whistle Bend would be slightly different than the rest of the city.

Under the proposed zoning, studios, hotels, and cultural and scientific exhibits would be deemed principal uses while recreation services and pet clinics would be deleted as principal uses typical for such zoning elsewhere in the city.

Residential units and offices in the commercial area of Keno Way would be required to be located above the ground floor.

Site coverage would rise from 70 per cent to 90 per cent to provide a greater development area on lots, though building height would decrease from a maximum of 15 metres to 12 m with a requirement that upper street or town-square-facing storeys in a building be set back 1.5 m.

The set back on upper levels is designed to give the buildings a more textured look and provide more amenity space, Simard explained

Fewer parking spaces would be required compared to elsewhere in the city in order to “to provide additional development space on the lots and (support) the sustainable and walkable design of Whistle Bend.”

The formula to determine the required number of parking spots would be altered to look at floor space rather than units, changing from one parking space per two units to one parking spot per 150 square metres of gross floor area.

Simard pointed out there are plans for stand alone parking lots that could accommodate around 80 parking spots just north of Keno Way.

Properties bordering the town square would have additional restrictions limiting the first story to eating and drinking establishments, retail and personal service establishments and requiring building access and facades to front onto both Keno Way and the town square. Bars and restaurants would be required to have outdoor seating.

Following the Jan. 13 public hearing, a staff report will be prepared and presented to council Jan. 20. It’s expected council members will vote on the final two readings of the bylaw Jan. 27.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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