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Victoria council agrees to Starlight Developments' Harris Green Village parking strategy following public hearing snafu

A rendering of Harris Green Village's first phase, coming to the 1045-block of Yates Street at Cook Street. The three-phase development was in limbo in recent months, following a council decision to limit its on-site parking provisions to a ratio deemed too low for the project's viability.  Starlight Developments

Victoria council agrees to Starlight Developments' Harris Green Village parking strategy following public hearing snafu
Mike Kozakowski,
Victoria council has affirmed its support for Starlight Developments' 1,500-to-1,600 rental unit Harris Green Village proposal at a council session held earlier today, which comes after a public hearing process stemming back to mid-February that left the project in limbo.

Proposed as five residential towers with a significant retail component between the 900 and 1045-blocks of Yates Street, council voted at the last moment of a three part public hearing to reduce the project's overall parking ratio from a 0.52 figure, or roughly one parking spot per two residences, to 0.52 in phase one (approximately 500 homes) and 0.166 in phases two and three, with a density of 1,000 homes, yielding fewer than 170 parking stalls.
The amendment was viewed as a forward-thinking ask in the heat of the moment, one that would limit automobile usage and automobile dependency for downtown residences.
However, the significantly lower 0.166 ratio in phases two and three was met with concern by the developer, given the lack of potential parking relative to real-world demand, and carried the risk of sidelining the entire project due to its inter-connected nature between all three phases.
In a response prepared to the City and presented to council today, Starlight Developments agreed to several asks posited by council on February 14th at the public hearing, namely the creation of 2,500 bicycle parking spots in phases two and three, the full electrification of residences in phases two and three, and an accommodation of nine car-share parking spaces.
Where the developer would not budge was on the issue of the parking ratio, which it suggested ought to be based not on an amendment introduced by council, but rather, on the City's official zoning bylaw.
As part of its reasoning, Starlight suggested that should the bylaw be amended prior to phases two and three commencing, it would ensure its proposal would adapt to a revised regulation. An amended bylaw would also equally apply to other developers and their projects. Starlight further added, that any unused parking space at its project would be made available to the general public to help offset parking supply concerns in the downtown core.
Mayor and council voted almost unanimously to support Starlight's rebuttal, save for councillor Stephen Hammond.
“Harris Green Village represents a unique opportunity to create a vibrant, urban, mixed-use community that is both diverse and inclusive,” said Shauna Dudding, Executive Director, Developments, Starlight Developments, in a release prepared following council's decision. “Purpose-built rentals are a critical aspect of the revitalization of this neighbourhood and we are honoured to be an integral part of the process.”
“We are fortunate to have the ability to provide nearly half an acre of parkland to downtown Victoria and the addition of a 10,000 square foot arts, culture and community space for the City," said Andrew Browne, Director of Development, Starlight Developments.
Starlight's phased plan will see construction begin later this year on phase one, situated on Yates Street at Cook Street, comprised of over 500-units of rental apartments in towers of 20 and 21-storeys, plus a future ground floor space for a modern Market on Yates. 80 homes in the first phase are envisioned as affordable suites.
Subsequent phases in the 900-block of Yates Street between Vancouver and Quadra streets are planned to yield towers of up to 32-storeys in height, delivering an additional 1,000 residences, plus a public plaza and a community space for the City of Victoria.
Starlight's Harris Green Village plans began with the company's acquisition of a retail complex anchored by London Drugs in 2016, followed by additional land purchases on the block and the former Harris automotive dealership at 1045 Yates Street. The company submitted an official application to the City of Victoria in 2019. C
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