A plan to build 132 residential housing units in central Sooke is a step closer to a public hearing.
Sooke district councillors voted 5-1 last week to consider an application by Aragon Properties.
The Vancouver-based company proposes to develop 4.2 hectares (10.5 acres) of farmland along Church Road and Wadams Way.
District staff say the development would include 78 townhouse units and 54 single-family houses. The single-family lots are a minimum of 250 square metres (2,691 square feet) with a maximum lot coverage of 60 per cent, while townhomes will have a maximum height of 15 metres.
There is a large amenity area in the townhomes strata area, including a playground, sports court, and amenity building.
A small off-leash dog area is planned at the corner of Church Road and Wadams Way.
District staff want the developer to dedicate land for a Church Road/Throup Road roundabout and construct the Church and Throup intersection to an “interim standard” or pay cash-in-lieu of $28,500. The developer has the option of designating and building a minimum of 10 per cent of the dwelling units as affordable housing units or provide cash-in-lieu of $10,000 per unit to a maximum of $130,000.
The majority of council favoured the development but acknowledged more work needed to be done before committing to a public hearing.
“I’m impressed with the work [municipal] staff and applicant have done, and I’m thrilled there’s a dog park, and a drinking fountain included,” Coun. Tony St-Pierre said.
Coun. Al Beddows was alone in opposition. He said the project has much to recommend, given the district’s need for housing and particularly affordable housing.
But he said the decision to reduce the lot size to 250 square metres, down from the proposed 350 square metres, is questionable.
“I’m not opposed to looking at smaller houses, but 250 square metres for a house and 60 percent (lot coverage) is unacceptable for this community,” he said.
Mayor Maja Tait convinced council to send parts of the plan back to the developer and look at a more considerable affordable housing contribution, more significant park dedication, childcare facility and a full access point onto Wadams Way.
District staff is expected to meet with Aragon Properties officials this week and report back to council.
It will likely be at least two months before the hearing takes place.