Whitehorse Daily Star

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Cook Street apartment stirs parking concerns

Of 13 written submissions to the city regarding a proposed zoning amendment to reduce parking requirements for a Cook Street apartment development, eight were opposed.

By Chuck Tobin on February 24, 2021

Of 13 written submissions to the city regarding a proposed zoning amendment to reduce parking requirements for a Cook Street apartment development, eight were opposed.

Most of the eight opposing submissions said the lack of available parking and increasing on-street parking are already issues.

Three letters in support, on the other hand, note additional housing is a good thing.

The project proponent is planning an apartment complex at 410 Cook St. with 16 micro-units and two commercial spaces for lease.

The proponent is also asking to remove the requirement to provide two visitor parking spaces, and reduce the requirement for eight residential parking spaces to seven, according to the administrative report presented to council.

He is also asking to remove the need to provide one commercial parking space and instead pay the $16,000 required for not providing the space.

The public hearing into the required amendment to the zoning bylaw closed Monday.

Second and third readings of the bylaw are scheduled for city council’s March 22 meeting.

City administration is recommending the amendment to reduce parking requirements be approved.

A couple of the opposing submissions argue that developments like the one proposed should be built to the size that can be accommodated by the lot.

But developers consistently maximize the building footprint knowing that parking requirements will have to be reduced.

“If the request for a variance is because the developer feels there isn’t enough room for parking, then make the building envelope small enough that this important requirement can be met!” says one of the submissions.

“Time and again, we see developments in the downtown filling every square foot of space on a building lot leaving no room for adequate parking and the landscaping requirements that used to be in place.”

Another submission of opposition says they are in support of low-cost housing but have to question the parking variances.

“Once these variances have been granted, they affect the whole area and cannot be retracted,” says the submission.

It goes on to say even though the development is proposing micro-units, it doesn’t mean occupants won’t have vehicles.

Many people have vehicles – often more than one – that they use on a regular basis, says the submission.

“With these micro-units plus commercial space, it will already greatly increase the activity generated by this one lot, without further reducing its parking requirements,” the submission says.

“I feel that increasing density should actually increase the parking requirement rather than the reverse.”

One of the three submissions supporting the project says the city should be putting the needs of its residents first, and not parking requirements.

“As the city grows, we need to focus on having places for people to live, not places for cars to park,” says the submission.

“Yes, many people own cars, but not everyone does or wants to. Too often, lawmakers prioritize the needs of the former at the expense of the latter.”

The submission says the Cook Street location is a perfect spot for the apartment complex because of its close proximity to services downtown and to city transit stops.

The location will allow tenants to remain carless if they choose, it says.

The housing supply in the city, says the submission, is already behind the demand, and reducing the number of units to meet parking stall requirements would be counter-productive.

“I want to express my support for the proposed parking variance for the new housing project at 410 Cook Street,” says another supporting submission.

“This is a project that stands to increase the supply of affordable housing significantly.

“We need it, and I would not want to see the number of units reduced for the sake of providing more parking.”

The administrative report to council last month notes that on-street parking in the area is currently low.

Comments (11)

Up 9 Down 2

Astonished! on Feb 27, 2021 at 5:26 pm

How could this be a problem with the foresight and planning we have at the
City. This parking problem will go away once everyone rides transit. Honest.

Up 2 Down 0

Sneaky City on Feb 27, 2021 at 7:46 am

Oops. My bad. The issue is in the paper. Make sure you all comment!!

Up 9 Down 0

Sneaky City on Feb 27, 2021 at 7:43 am

I know this is off topic to the article however, I was looking at the city website and Council is looking at reducing the speed for downtown and all side streets.
I thought it quite sneaky that they did not put anything in the paper and request input from the public. Here is an email address that they have for comments on this initiative - safespeedsdowntown@whitehorse.ca.
The proposed amendments are 40 for second and fourth avenue and 30 for all side streets. School and playground speeds remain the same. Riverdale residents and those of you that drive into Riverdale to drop your children off at school and then leaving Riverdale - you all know what the traffic is like. This mayor and council as well as previous councils have done absolutely nothing to alleviate this problem. The speed limit does not need to be reduced. Drivers and pedestrians all need to look!!!
Make sure you all comment on this initiative!!!

Up 1 Down 7

Cathy on Feb 26, 2021 at 4:27 pm

I live in the apt. building pictured on the right. Yes there is not enough parking for the people who live in our building, but the need for housing is so badly needed right now they should be allowed to build this building.

Up 17 Down 0

Vern Schlimbesser on Feb 25, 2021 at 12:53 pm

From the photo it looks like it has already started?
If that's the case what is the story? Did COW put a stop to it? Not that they would do that, unless their inspectors had the chance.
Why do most of the rules that COW inspectors apply not exist in actual "law" but in their minds and they believe they can call it POLICY, and apply it to private citizens. They have no care or concern about their legal limits to their power.
Perhaps some basic Civics training at Yukon University should be mandatory for ALL COW staff who apply ANY rules, and councillors to for that matter?

Up 16 Down 1

SH on Feb 25, 2021 at 10:48 am

Yet another reason why I do not live downtown...

Up 8 Down 9

Parker on Feb 25, 2021 at 8:05 am

Here’s a potential solution - Make roof-top parking. You could install a car elevator or build a ramp that goes around the exterior of the building - This way you could stop at your balcony to drop your groceries etc before you park your vehicle on the roof-top.

Up 28 Down 0

This is Whitehorse on Feb 24, 2021 at 4:28 pm

Comments such as these:
"“As the city grows, we need to focus on having places for people to live, not places for cars to park,” says the submission.

“Yes, many people own cars, but not everyone does or wants to. Too often, lawmakers prioritize the needs of the former at the expense of the latter.”"

Would be 100% correct, in a city with actual public transport infrastructure beyond one bus every hour++, a trolley or train and walkable options. Oh and somewhere where it isn't below freezing & slippery for more than half the year.

Seriously, give your head a shake. If I were in a position to qualify for affordable housing, my second priority after in-suite laundry would be a plug in for my vehicle, and no, I don't mean a level 2 charger for a Tesla.

Up 22 Down 0

any other building would have had to include ground floor parking on Feb 24, 2021 at 4:05 pm

Why wasn't this thought of before the build? Didn't this have to be approved by the city?
Also, this isn't just low income housing by challenge, from what I understand. Apparently there are $$$$$$$$ units in there as well.

Commercial site with no parking?

Up 24 Down 2

Joe on Feb 24, 2021 at 3:04 pm

Hey COW! On street parking is not ok. This is an easy NO

Up 53 Down 3

yukoner on Feb 24, 2021 at 1:34 pm

Here we go again...… COW, why are you even considering this?

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