This rendering (looking northwest) shows a residential building proposed for the corner of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17. (Courtesy Kothari Group)

This rendering (looking northwest) shows a residential building proposed for the corner of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17. (Courtesy Kothari Group)

Sidney staff reviews plans for five-storey building near Highway 17

Council to consider plans for 141-unit project in early March

The public will learn more about a proposed five-storey building at the northwestern corner of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17 in March.

Town of Sidney staff have begun reviewing recently submitted plans by Kothari Group to build a roughly 18-metre high building at 2180 Beacon Ave. West that calls for 141 units.

An upcoming staff report will provide council an overview of the proposal and an assessment of how it complies with applicable bylaws, Sidney chief administrative officer Randy Humble stated in an email. “The report will also consider policy direction for this West Sidney neighbourhood, and any potential impacts on infrastructure and traffic,” he added.

The application requires amendments of both the Official Community Plan and existing zoning.

Since Humble’s statement, the municipality has announced that the developers will make a public presentation during council’s committee-of-the-whole meeting scheduled for March 7 starting at 6 p.m.

The municipality said in a notice of application that the public will have an opportunity during that meeting to ask questions and give comments regarding the proposed development. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sidney’s council chamber is currently closed to in-person public attendance. Interested parties can register through Sidney’s municipal hall to participate virtually.

Coun. Peter Wainwright, who highlighted the proposal on social media recently with a link to the municipality’s active development application page, told Black Press Media he met with Kothari Group several months ago to talk about their interest in the area and what issues might arise.

“And the obvious issue is for traffic, particularly post-Amazon,” Wainwright said.

A 2021 study found a need for improvements at the intersection of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue during morning peak traffic.

RELATED: Province supports potential interim improvements to Sidney intersection

That report preceded the announcement of plans for a large last-mile distribution centre by Amazon on lands under the jurisdiction of the Victoria Airport Authority, not far from the site of the proposed five-story building. Area residents have already expressed concerns about current and future traffic volumes and a major residential development in the area would add to that.

With the application still sitting with staff, Wainwright said it is too early to comment on how the development might impact traffic. His discussions with Kothari also touched on the proposed building’s height and privacy.

“They seemed to be taking it to heart,” he said, noting that renderings show the building stepping away from the intersection. The area also includes a walkway that would create a buffer to the highway.

Not having the actual plans, nor any supporting documentation makes the application difficult to analyze, Wainwright acknowledged, including how a five-storey building at that location might change Sidney’s visual appearance and what public reaction might be.

RELATED: Sidney turns down housing project over size, massing after neighbourhood concerns

“I think people would like to see what they are proposing,” he said. “There will be trade-off between what the building looks like and what they are offering. Certainly, there is a potential for a whole lot of people who might (live) there actually walking or biking to work if they are working nearby.”

Based on initial plans, he said, the developers seem to be targeting a higher-end market.

“It’s a very prominent corner of the highway in terms of entrance into Sidney and they have obviously put a lot of attention into the corner that will face the highway. But overall, I don’t know what people living there will think and that is part of the process.”

That process will start with committee-of-the-whole considering the complete application following the staff review. There will be opportunity for public comment and input in future.

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