Preliminary artist rendering by Karvin Developments for three-lot subdivision on Berkeley Avenue. (City of Chilliwack)

Preliminary artist rendering by Karvin Developments for three-lot subdivision on Berkeley Avenue. (City of Chilliwack)

Berkeley Avenue subdivision proposal goes back for a little retooling in Chilliwack

Council resolves to ask developer for two-storey limit on the three homes proposed for one large lot

A rezoning proposal for a three-lot subdivision at 45863 Berkeley Ave. was referred back to staff at the Jan. 5 council meeting.

Council resolved to have staff ask the developer to voluntarily restrict the height of the new homes to two storeys.

The proposed rezoning would take the property from R1-A (urban residential) to an R1-C (urban infill zone), and council had the option of giving the proposal third reading and adoption at the Tuesday meeting.

Written submissions from neighbours contained in the staff report focused on concerns about traffic, heritage preservation, impacts on the slough, and parking congestion.

Several of the letter-writers stated a preference that two homes be built rather than three.

Some members of council were having a hard time reconciling the potential for three-storey homes to be built on the large lot in the older neighbourhood in Chilliwack Proper. Others thought the lot was large enough to fit the three narrow houses.

“I always struggle with these,” Coun. Bud Mercer said about the Berkeley proposal during the council discussion, and wondered if there was any way to “lock in” the developer to a two-storey height limit.

“I could support this plan for homes at two levels, but not three,” Mercer said.

City CAO Peter Monteith replied that council can’t impose a condition like that, and the only way would be to get staff to convince the developer to commit to limiting the height of the homes in this case.

The preliminary renderings show a trio of modern-looking homes two storeys high, and the 1,315-square-metre lot size is considered of “sufficient size” to accommodate the three-lot subdivision. Both the existing R1A and the proposed R1-C would allow maximum heights of up to 10 metres.

Coun. Sue Knott warned that council had to be careful what it wished for, since the flood proofing construction standards mean that properties will have to build out if they can’t go up.

The property backs onto the Hope River Corbould Park and the Hope Slough, and the existing home would be removed at the time of subdivision to make way for the three narrow homes proposed by Karvin Developments. There are future plans for townhomes across the street from the proposed subdivision.

The staff report explained the height conundrum: “As the neighbourhood is predominantly characterized by a mix of mature yet well-maintained one and two-storey single detached dwellings, the future development of additional single detached dwellings within the newly proposed lots will maintain the built form and desired density of the area. However, a ground-entry home with living quarters above will likely be constructed in order to comply with the Flood Construction Level (FCL), creating a height differentiation with some of the surrounding lots. Both the existing Rl-A Zone and proposed Rl-C Zone allow for a maximum height of 10m. Given the FCL requirements, any new construction in the area is likely to maximize allowable height.”

Instead of giving third reading and adoption, council voted in the end to send the proposal back to staff, with the idea of asking the developer to voluntarily ensure that the homes will not exceed two stories — even though three storeys would be permitted under the current and proposed zones.

READ MORE: Heritage home could face the wrecking ball

READ MORE: Height issues among concerns for Higginson

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