Whitehorse Daily Star

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Council approves zoning bylaw

Zoning bylaw amendments to a section of undeveloped commercial property in the Whistle Bend subdivision are in part designed to be people-friendly.

By Chuck Tobin on February 13, 2020

Zoning bylaw amendments to a section of undeveloped commercial property in the Whistle Bend subdivision are in part designed to be people-friendly.

City council passed third and final reading of the zoning bylaw Monday night.

The ground floor of three lots surrounding a town square on Keno Way, for instance, must be dedicated to eating and drinking establishments on the entire ground floor or a portion of the ground floor.

There must be provisions for outdoor seating.

Where only a portion of the ground floor is used for eating and drinking establishments, the remainder must be used for retail services and personal service establishments like a hair salon or barber shop.

The bylaw requires the upper storeys to be set back 1.5 metres from the front of the building on the ground floor, which must face a public street or town square.

The bylaw requires one parking space for every housing unit but businesses require one for every 150 squares metres (1,614 square feet) of floor space, or the same as downtown.

“The edits are intended to implement an urban form that would function similar to Main Street in downtown Whitehorse and complement the location of the town square as the centre of the neighbourhood,” says the administrative report to council.

Nobody appeared at the Jan. 13 public hearing on the proposed amendment to the zoning bylaw.

Just one written submission was received regarding concerns with snow-clearing, reduced parking requirements and the need for increased transit service.

Coun. Laura Cabott noted last week that city staff should take it as a compliment that there were no issues raised by the Whistle Bend Community Association.

Directly behind the commercial properties on Keno Way, across the alley to the north, is an 80-stall parking lot, connected to Keno Way with a pedestrian corridor.

As has been a common discussion at council for some time now, the impact on on-street parking has become a common concern as the city moves to increase density of housing opportunities.

So too has the need to increase transit service to provide convenient alternatives for residents who would otherwise drive to where they need to go.

But as Coun. Jan Stick pointed out Monday night, providing adequate parking will always be a reality, no matter how well the buses serve the city.

Residents who want to get out of town, or even visit areas in the city that are not serviced by transit, still need a vehicle, and somewhere to park it, she said.

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