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APPROVED
257 Belleville Street
Use: condo
Address: 257 Belleville Street
Municipality: Victoria
Region: Urban core
Storeys: 8
Condo units: 35 (1BR, 2BR)
Sales status: in planning
257 Belleville Street is a proposal for an eight-storey condominium along the 200-block of Belleville Street i... (view full profile)
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[James Bay - Victoria] 257 Belleville (Admiral Inn site) | 29.5m | 8-storeys | Approved


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#81 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 10:05 PM

If you tell a part of town they are zoned for 6 story buildings and then you approve an 18 story building, people are going to be upset, join community associations, and subsequently fight any changes.

I can't think of a single instance where this has happened, at least definitely not in a not-downtown neighbourhood. Actually, I don't even think it has happened downtown.

The CAs currently use those kinds of "what-if" scenarios (which never happen) to scare people into becoming rigid about change, vs. remaining flexible.

As long as they fit into an overall regional plan...

Bingo. Operative word: regional. Some of the CA leadership act like they're heading up besieged fiefdoms. Bzzzt!, wrong! You're part of a whole city, get with the program.

...I buy a 2-story house in Fairfield and the surrounding buildings are zoned max 3 stories. Then the city comes along and approves a 10 story building next door. I think we can all agree that I would have a pretty strong cause for complaint.

Again, ain't gonna happen, hasn't happened, didn't happen -- not in Fairfield. Not in Fernwood. Not in Rockland. Can't speak for James Bay, although I know it hasn't happened recently.

Name me a neighbourhood where this has happened.

It's no good arguing hypotheticals (and hyperbolic ones, at that). Let's talk reality.

The closest thing recently was the Mount St. Angela brouhaha, and that was for a six-storey building knocked down to four storeys, in an area (IIRC) zoned for three storeys. Hardly scandalous.

IIRC, there are a bunch of community plans up for revision, but the atmosphere has in addition become so acrimonious that it will be difficult for what aastra calls "common sense" to prevail.

The leadership in the CAs have dug in their heels (and I say "the leadership" because I know from my own community and from talking to people in other communites that these people DO NOT represent their neighbours in the way they think they do: plenty of others disagree with them, but they don't bother to become active to say so).

And everywhere you turn, there are people ready to muddy the waters with unsubstantiated examples ("buy a 2-story house in Fairfield ...and [see] a 10 story building next door," for example) that serve to frighten uninformed residents who are only too easily coaxed from one crisis to the next.
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#82 jklymak

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 06:35 AM

819 Yates was spot zoned to almost twice the zoned density. I would call that a pretty radical change in what was allowed there. As bad as 10 storeys in SFH Fairfield? Of course not - that example was meant to be hyperbolic. But why should homeowners in Fairfield expect more consistency than homeowners in Harris Green? The zoning process becomes arbitrary and arbitrary is open to the charge of unfairness. The CAs become vigilant and dig their heels in.

I'm not trying to make silly examples or argue that the city has done anything terribly stupid. And I'm certainly not trying to argue that beautiful and large buildings shouldn't be built. I'm trying to point out that the process as it stands involves excessive spot zoning, and that upsets people.

#83 G-Man

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 08:00 AM

I know this is off topic now, but isn't 819 only 4 stories higher than the zoning at the time and 20% larger on the FSR?

Also I believe that this area has now been rezoned and it is within zoning. The Wave also exceeded the zoning its lot had. I think 860 View complied though.

The benfit of "spot rezoning" is that it allows individual sites to be assessed in context of time and surroundings which no matter how good a community plan is, it will never contain that much detail.

Anyways As I said before what is the current zoning on this lot?

I can guess it is over FSR as it is over 3:1 which for some bizarre reason was considered the holy grail of FSR for the city at one time.

The height may well be in zoning.

There should be some latitude in community plans to allow for slight deviations. Plans are great if you want to live in Brasilia or other such wonderful cites but the cities that most people like are much more organic.



#84 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 07:13 PM

Yes, sorry to the mods (as per G-man's comment that we're getting really off topic now)...

But, here goes anyways!

I grant you that the 819 Yates zoning seems ...um, exceptional. I looked at the earliest posts on it, and saw that someone posted that its density is at nearly 6:1. I checked the VV main page to see whether I could find out what the density for some of the adjacent projects is (Atrium, or Wave, even!), but can't find that info. Don't have the time to weed through the actual threads, either -- sorry! It does seem anomalous, and it's not the case that it's being repeated willy-nilly all over the place.

And at the same time, also consider this: sometimes the existing zoning defies common sense (to get back to aastra's point). The zoning of 3:1 that existed (?) for Harris Green and/or downtown at the time was insane -- how could any sane-minded steward of land keep valuable land like that zoned at such a ridiculous level? Therefore, naturally the boundary is attacked -- via "spot zoning," until (that is) a massive rezoning takes place, one that takes reality into account.

Or maybe it's a case of "there are 10 to 20 to 30 year old buildings already in the neighbourhood, which far exceed what this particular lot is zoned for, so let's exercise common sense and 'spot zone' this lot into line with its neighbours."

Even Council (I think perhaps even Pam Madoff, or maybe it was Alan Lowe, can't recall) got Nick Russell to admit that the existing zoning for Mount St. Angela (which was 1:1) would mean this site could never be redeveloped for anything -- unless some "spot rezoning" would up-zone it so that it could become a viable participant in the city's economic fabric again!

Therefore: Mount St. Angela is a case of "spot zoning," but you know what? The alternative would have been condemning the site to stagnation.

The problem as I see it is that "spot zoning" has gotten such a bad reputation that everyone can jump on it, but sometimes it's the only way to bring some sense into a situation.

That's not how the CA Warriors see it, of course. For them, every instance of "spot zoning" is a falling away from The Path and The Way, something to be punished. I.e., ideology trumps practicality every time.
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#85 jklymak

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 08:58 PM

I guess my question is, what is the best way forward? Not for this lot by itself, but for the city in general.

(mods: Please feel free to transplant this to urban issues/planning - I apologize for derailing this thread which is clearly meant to discuss this fine proposal for a pyramid, er, triangley thingy in James Bay)

#86 gumgum

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 06:47 AM

article in the TC today. Frontpage.

#87 G-Man

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 08:11 AM

Funny article. Now we are looking for affordable tourist housing too. I would suggest that the inner harbour area has not been affordable for a very long time. I mean cheap in victoria is 60 - 80 bucks. I doubt that anywhere in the inner harbour you can stay for less than 100 and most of it is well above that price point.

I am glad that people recognize that this is a piece of art and not just the work of greedy developers.

THe bit about the Crystal Court is way off, as they suggest that the reason it fell apart was the art gallery. Of course they also say that the proposal was for a 10 and 14 storey building.

#88 amor de cosmos

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 10:47 AM

this caught my eye:

In what is a first for condominium marketing in Victoria, the developer will build a "base building" allowing purchasers to buy the amount of square footage they want and then finish their own unit.

"Very often at the high-end condominium market someone will buy a completely finished unit and tear it apart and re-do it to their own taste. It is immensely wasteful."


I don't hear about very many projects like that

#89 jklymak

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 10:54 AM

Thats a great idea! I'm not sure who designed my apartment, but boy did they make some funny decisions...

#90 G-Man

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:55 AM

They do stuff like that all the time in Latin America. You see have completed office buildings and the rest just framed.



#91 Zimquats

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:04 PM

Not only does the idea of finishing your own condo sound perposterous, it would be a scheduling nightmare (to the point of impossibility) for the builder.

Think of this: before you could even pour the structural slab you would need the floorplans completed and approved for every single tenant on that floor (so you would know where to pipe in the plumbing, electrical etc etc). In order for them to do that each individual owners designer would need to coordinate with the base building design team. Now, you take into account the fact that developers almost always have to start on the lower levels before design is even complete on the upper floors (financing...can't pay for empty property until the design is 100%). Because of this, there are invariably changes that occur on the upper floors. Now these changes need to be relayed to not one contractor, but every tenants design team.

How does the building complete? The developer can't close until the building has been granted occupancy by the City. This essentially means that every area of the building, including suites, need to meet minimum building code requirements. So, in essence, no one can move in until the last buyer finishes his suite. Ack!!!

From a buyers point of view, while the odd person may have the knowledge / desire to customize their suite, I think most people would shudder at the thought of having to coordinate the build on their own. Hell, my girlfriend has been trying to get the kitchen painted and it's taken her over two months just to lock down a colour...it's still not done.

I'm sorry, as someone with a little experience in this field, I could write an essay as to why this idea may possibly be the dumbest thing I have ever heard of. I did this with one penthouse, one time, and it took them over a year to finish after the project was complete.

Once the developer puts just a tiny bit of thought into this, we'll see that it won't happen.

#92 amor de cosmos

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:17 PM

in a different city/province/country with different laws maybe it wouldn't be such a hassle. maybe those are all good reasons I haven't heard of a developer leaving a building unfinished so the buyers can customize their own units.

#93 FunkyMunky

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 10:50 PM

Once the developer puts just a tiny bit of thought into this, we'll see that it won't happen.


This is commonly done in other cities. In New York, they refer to it as selling 'raw space' although the degree of rawness has evolved from unfinished brick warehouses (for loft space) to newly-constructed towers with plaster board and plumbing roughed-in. For the Perry Street and Charles Streets towers that Richard Meier has designed and developed over the last couple of years, they were sold as raw space and he personally oversaw the designs of the finished units.

We need to learn how to stop saying "No" and get into the game and compete with the rest of the world.

#94 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:00 PM

this caught my eye:


I don't hear about very many projects like that


Reminds me of The Wing.

But Van Asltine didn't say too much negative stuff, other than Victoria "may not be ready" for the design, whatever that means.

Anyway, who knows.

#95 Holden West

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 10:12 AM

Nice building, bad name
Times Colonist
Published: Friday, June 20, 2008

While I like the architectural rendering of the proposed condo at the Admiral Motel site, the developer should consider a little more original name. There are already two Landmarks -- one in Sidney at the foot of Beacon Avenue and one on Douglas south of Belleville Street.

This has already caused some confusion in the past regarding billings, service calls and deliveries.

How about The Pyramid?

J.W. Lawson

Victoria

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#96 gumgum

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 10:31 AM

But it's not a pyramid!:P

#97 jklymak

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 10:36 AM

^ that wasn't me, honest! J.W. Lawson might have been in my grade 3 geometry class though.

#98 Caramia

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 10:37 AM

Rofl!!!!

#99 G-Man

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 10:38 AM

Future Person 1: Where do you live?

Future Person 2: Oh in the Extruded Triangle Building.

Future Person 1: I love that building and the name is catchy.

#100 Holden West

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 10:41 AM

They should deck it out in lights like the Legislature and call it the $10,000 Pyramid building.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

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