Victoria based developer Chris Le Fevre is hoping to put a pocket neighbourhood in Ucluelet.
Le Fevre owns a currently vacant 2.9-acre lot at 1782 St. Jacques Blvd and plans to develop it into a residential community with 24 single-family residential homes surrounding a shared courtyard.
Le Fevre presented his plan to Ucluelet’s municipal council during Sept. 13’s regular meeting and touted the project as a benefit to the community and a boost to the local housing supply.
“The idea of having a bunch of smaller homes around common land that is shared with the ownership, in my opinion, is an exciting way to create a small housing community and also create housing that, from a cost basis, is not going to be as high as traditional single family housing,” he said.
“Everybody’s aware there’s a need for more housing on the peninsula but more particularly housing that young people starting out in life can afford. I’m not here to say that I’m capable of building affordable cheap housing, I’m not. But, I am capable of creating something that, I think, would add to your fabric of housing within this community.”
Along with bringing council up to speed on his plan for the property, Le Fevre also requested a change to the lot’s zoning, which currently stipulates that at least three residences must be connected whereas he wants to build free standing homes separate from each other.
He suggested the zoning change he was asking for was “subtle” and would not increase the area’s allowed density.
This sentiment was supported by a report submitted to council by Ucluelet’s planner John Towgood.
“This proposal does not contemplate an increase in density or significant changes to the zoning regulations from the current MFR [Multi-Family-Residential] use,” Towgood wrote.
“This additional form for a MFR development represents a new and progressive housing option for Ucluelet that tries to foster a sense of community among nearby neighbours, while preserving the individual owner’s sense of place.”
Le Fevre’s lead planner Ray Hunt also spoke at the meeting and said the 24 homes would range from 700-1,200 square-feet and would surround a shared community space with parking installed around the outside of the development. Each residential unit would have one designated and covered parking spot though some spots would not be immediately adjacent to their assigned residence, according to Hunt.
Mayor Dianne St. Jacques wondered where guests to the neighbourhood would park and asked how many parking spots would be developed in total.
Hunt replied there would be 1.5 parking spots for each unit, as required by Ucluelet’s zoning bylaws, with a total of around 43 spots including the 24 designated ones.
If it moves ahead, the development would be across the street from Ucluelet’s Forest Glen seniors housing facility and Coun. Randy Oliwa said he met with the Seaview Seniors Housing Society which operates Forest Glen and heard no objections towards Le Fevre’s proposal.
“There were no raised eyebrows at the initial proposal that I brought forward when I identified that this was on the agenda tonight,” Oliwa said. “It’s a neat little fit for that neighborhood.”
Council unanimously agreed to move the project ahead to a public hearing, which is expected to be held on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in council chambers.