Whitehorse Daily Star

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Project proponent seeks relaxed rules for parking

The city has received a request to relax parking requirements for a four-storey affordable housing development planned for 410 Cook St.

By Chuck Tobin on January 20, 2021

The city has received a request to relax parking requirements for a four-storey affordable housing development planned for 410 Cook St.

The project proponent intends to include 16 micro-unit dwellings and two leasable commercial spaces.

The proponent is seeking the removal for the need to provide one commercial parking space and instead pay the $16,000 required for not providing the space.

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

Administration is recommending the parking requirements under the zoning bylaw be relaxed.

First reading of the bylaw amendment will go before council for a vote next Monday. A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 22, with second and third readings of the bylaw scheduled for March 22.

The administrative report notes micro-units are an emerging form of affordable housing targeting students, single young professionals, couples without children and low-income individuals.

The Cook Street location is close to the grocery store, École Whitehorse Elementary School, the transit route, and Shipyards Park, the report notes in recognizing the attributes of 410 Cook St.

The average size of the residential units will be 37 square metres, or 400 square feet.

The report points out the project has received funding from the Yukon Housing Corporation’s Housing Initiative Fund.

It also points out the 2017 Safe at Home action plans recommends exploring ways to provide incentives for micro-home developments that are safe and affordable.

Housing has been identified by city council as a strategic priority.

“Research suggests that traditional parking minimums under municipal zoning can be a hindrance to development of micro-unit housing as they indirectly restrict density and increase costs of development,” says the administrative report.

“Many municipalities in recent years have allowed for reduction, or even removal, of parking minimums to make housing projects feasible and promote active transportation.”

The report noted the development will be required to provide 21 spaces for bicycles.

The reduction of parking requirements is not likely to have a major impact as on-street parking on the block is quite low, the report says.

“This indicates that there may be adequate room for parking by potential customers and employees, which can alternatively be used by visitors during evening hours and weekends.”

The lot had been occupied by a single-storey structure that was demolished in early 2020 to make way for redevelopment.

The report says the project proposal was reviewed last month by the city’s development review committee and no substantial issues were raised.

Comments (17)

Up 0 Down 0

Local Developer on Feb 1, 2021 at 1:57 pm

It is clear that this forum is dominated by those who expect everything to stay the same and want to live in a world where parking is plentiful, free everywhere, and provided by someone else. Most of the street parking in the CM1 and CM2 zones is occupied by commuters from the suburbs who use it as a free parking lot during the day and leave it empty at night. This street parking should be designated for use by people who live in the neighbourhood as this project seems to propose with its relaxation request. The zoning bylaws makes little sense as written by the City. Take a read and enlighten yourself.

Up 0 Down 0

Herb on Jan 27, 2021 at 4:35 am

Parking?? What's that?

Up 6 Down 0

Anie on Jan 25, 2021 at 12:53 pm

Drum: handicaps are not always obvious. While running may not happen, there are lots of people with no clear limp who cannot walk any distance. Similarly, some people with back or leg issues cannot easily get in or out of a vehicle and require the wider parking stall to fully open the door. Permits require medical certification. And Short term parking permits for temporary issues have expiry dates.

Up 6 Down 8

drum on Jan 23, 2021 at 4:59 pm

While we are talking about parking I have a big complaint. People who have handicap hangers in their vehicles and park in handicap spaces and hop out of their vehicles and run into the stores with no apparent handicap. Who administers this process and who does the follow up when people are no longer meeting the criteria?

Up 10 Down 2

Atom on Jan 23, 2021 at 10:10 am

'many municipalities' are nothing like those in The Yukon.
If you live here you like wilderness and you own a vehicle to go see it, out of town.
It's a joke this place. The new realtor and developer are the comedian and locals are the punchline.
Council is the venue

Up 18 Down 2

Politico on Jan 22, 2021 at 2:37 pm

@My Opinion If you've ever walk around Whitehorse and looked at the historical houses you would find most of them are quite tiny. People survived the winters, which were much colder back then, very well. Modern cabin fever is being in your home with computers, home entertainment systems, telephones and food delivery. First world problem!

Up 28 Down 1

Yukoner on Jan 22, 2021 at 8:00 am

No, just NO! I'm tired of City admin and council disrespecting the current residents of downtown and grinding down the comfortable way of life. What about the current residents of Cook St? Don't they matter? Don't they deserve parking? Typical, the developer makes out like a bandit, in the wind, and local citizens are left to deal with the aftermath.

THAT'S what the COW is about.

Up 26 Down 1

"We are going to build this neighbourhood with this character in mind." on Jan 21, 2021 at 8:20 pm

Now that it's built, sub divide, ignore rules, forget regulations,
"wow this neighborhood is congested now and looks horrible, it has no character."

Thanks City!

Up 15 Down 3

My Opinion on Jan 21, 2021 at 3:58 pm

Are these Condo's? Are they Rental Units? How much are they charging for them?
I bet the cost or the rent is high for the Sq footage.
400 sq feet is nothing. Just a bathroom takes at least 60 sq feet. area for a bed and be able to walk by it requires at least 100 sq feet. plus kitchen, sitting eating area. this would be a small Motel Room.
The trouble here is that we are even considering this, it is inhuman. The winters here are long and Cabin Fever is real.

Up 31 Down 1

yukoner on Jan 21, 2021 at 2:36 pm

I agree with below comments and have said it before: COW, stop giving "exemptions" to everyone, especially to for-profit builders/developers. You want to build downtown, or anywhere else in the City for that matter, go by the rules and don't be selfish and money greedy. Same rules for everyone.

Up 16 Down 4

Josey Wales on Jan 21, 2021 at 10:50 am

Hmmm...funny how comfortable we are with language such as this...
"The administrative report notes micro-units are an emerging form of affordable housing targeting students, single young professionals, couples without children and low-income individuals."
If one cannot see a problem here?

At this point who cares about the parking issue, seems we have FAR bigger problems.
Dead horse beating...never underestimate your civic government or more "language" as that will be "moved forward"!!

Ministry of Language is in the house...CLEARLY.
Yes the Mayor needs to pull his head outta the civic trough.
Two faces perhaps, but only one head...can wear one hat at a time.

Up 33 Down 1

Max Mack on Jan 21, 2021 at 1:53 am

So, it's not enough that the developers get free money from YHC, tax breaks from the City, and preferential permitting processes, but they now also get more free money by way of reduced parking requirements - which transfers the cost of providing parking to the rest of us.

16 "micro" units and 2 commercial spaces. But, only 1 commercial parking space, only 7 resident parking spaces and no visitor parking?? Where do you think those people are going to park?

Parking is already at a premium downtown, with the city ever keen to make parking even more inaccessible, and now they are giving gifts of parking to well-heeled developers at the expense of the rest of us.


Up 3 Down 19

Nathan Living on Jan 20, 2021 at 10:33 pm

Personally, I do not consider this a conflict of issue for Mayor Dan Curtis.
Business as usual until the election date is announced then perhaps an effort to announce he is running in the riding when council discusses issues that involve the riding.

Up 30 Down 1

CJ2 on Jan 20, 2021 at 10:09 pm

"...students, single young professionals, couples without children and low-income individuals" are the desired residents. Are they implying that those are the kind of people without cars? If so, who are they kidding?

The parking requirements for the zoning are quite reasonable, 10 spaces for 16 units and a commercial space. That sounds like fewer cars were already anticipated.

Council needs to stop taking parking requirements off the table, just because developers are fast talkers. The streets are full of cars owned by people living in developments that got parking requirements waived.

Up 24 Down 1

Joe on Jan 20, 2021 at 8:56 pm

Say no. Why give rules for some and not for others. Also 3/4 of the population works at home so this after work parking doesn't jive anymore. Just say no.

Up 22 Down 3

Max Fraser on Jan 20, 2021 at 3:40 pm

Who is the developer?? Should know who is behind this.

Up 31 Down 6

Al on Jan 20, 2021 at 2:30 pm

Unless the mayor is resigning he needs to recuse himself from the debate and voting in this matter being that he is seeking to run in this riding.
Personally I would prefer resignation to that the pool does not get any muddier than it already is.

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