At the City’s Urban Design Panel (UDP) meeting on June 3, 2015, in general terms the project was approved; 7 members for, 2 members against. But it was approved with the following recommendations from the Panel.
The Chair of the UDP, Jennifer Marshal, recommended for 3365 Commercial and 1695 to 1775 East 18th:
- turn the four storey building into two sets of two storey townhouses because “this four storey building is the neighbour to the neighbourhood and that you really have to have a good look at that”.
- for the height of the six storey building on Commercial Drive, the City should take its cue for the height from Commercial Drive at 16th, 15th and 14th.
- this project is in a transition area, a border position with a very committed neighbourhood and that needs to be respected with the architecture
- that the four and six storey buildings are institutional and out of step with the neighbourhood.
- the setbacks need to be larger
- that the heritage house and infill is way too crowded and that it needs more space and breathing room around it.
Comments from other members of the Urban Design Panel on the Heritage component currently at 3365 Commercial to be moved to 1695 East 18th:
Stefan: Personally I don’t see the heritage value in this. It’s an old house you’re heavily modifying it and you’re adding some stuff that was not previously there. So I question the value of the heritage exercise regarding the massing. It’s very close to the western property line.
Stuart: Setback is not enough and the overlook for the future development would be a problem, the infill. Setbacks should follow existing conditions of Commercial.
Matthew: I question the merits of the structure and its need to be retained. I question the development resources, financial and logical, in that regard. Infill location is not that good of a neighbour for the overlooks. The 9 foot setback is an issue; overlook should be mitigated. Is the project better with the infill not there?
Maghan: The infill could be further apart.
Chris: the heritage is orphaned from the project and not well integrated with the open space. Don’t think the infill is supportive relative to the heritage.
Ken: I won’t comment on repurposing, it’s already been discussed.
Arno: re: infill it’s too large and close to existing heritage house; the grading is an issue. Don’t go through the dramatics of keeping the trees.
Roger: Everyone has said what I wanted to say. The location of the house has to be considered with the infill and grade, because of the issue of retaining wall and how the infill respects the privacy of the west neighbouring properties and liveability. Challenging to save the trees, rather see tree planting for the two streets.
Neil: Moving of the pre-dated building makes sense; heritage rules enforce age, therefore we keep it. If the house were to be kept more central then it would be a more complicated relationship between the new building and the old.
Russell: It’s too much sitting on the site. For me it begins with the heritage building. I have questions as to why you’re keeping the thing, but if you’re going to keep the thing the infill is not successful. It should not be there. The historic building could be where the infill is and facing east. It is not neighbourly to the house to the west. Have some setbacks.