Letter to Council: Rezoning – Milestones Restaurant Patio

Posted on October 23rd, 2018 · Posted in Land Use, Letters

1715 Government Street
Victoria, BC, V8W 1Z4

Mayor and Council
City of Victoria
No.1 Centennial Square
Victoria, BC, V8W 1P6

October 23, 2018

Re: Rezoning – Milestones Restaurant Patio

Dear Mayor Helps and Council,

The DRA LUC has reviewed the application for the proposed rezoning and hosted a CALUC
meeting on June 13, 2018 for the above‐mentioned application.

Based on the information presented by the applicant, the purpose of the rezoning is to match
the area that is included on the current patio lease to the area zoned. Currently the existing
patio protrudes approximately 6 feet beyond the current zoning boundary into the pedestrian
portion of the lower harbour causeway. The applicant represented that the patio has been in
existence for many decades and this non‐compliance had been discovered recently when an
application was submitted to the City of Victoria for a more substantial patio structure.

Comments and concerns raised by the Committee members are as follows:

  • It is unclear whether the original lease for the area matched the zoning boundary. The
    subsequent lease apparently was granted by the City of Victoria without zoning
    approval or Council oversight. This situation has been technically noncompliant with the
    zoning and not legal for at least the past 8 years (as opposed to legal non‐conforming).
  • Site visits by the DRA during a festival event confirm that pedestrian traffic along this
    portion of the lower causeway appears constricted by the current patio dimensions.
  • The existing patio structure does not currently create a visible barrier along the
    causeway. It was stated at the CALUC meeting that the applicant had submitted an
    application to build a taller more permanent structure that may be covered. This will
    accentuate the existing constriction of public space if permitted beyond the currently
    zoned area. Plans for this structure have apparently been withdrawn and have not been
    shown as part of this application to date. As the applicants’ future plans certainly appear
    to include a significantly larger structure, these plans should be included for public
    review prior to any consideration of this rezoning.

While this property is technically owned by the GVHA it is not private property. The
appropriation of public space for private commercial uses should only be sanctioned by Council
after careful consideration of the public needs. The DRA LUC considers that the patio area under
application currently occupied by the Milestone’s patio was improperly granted by the
GVHA/City of Victoria lease and may represent a hindrance to the use of public space that may
be worsened with the future plans for a structure. The creation in its current dimensions has
taken place under circumstances that have yet to be fully justified and Council should feel under
no obligation to approve this application.

Sincerely,
Ian Sutherland
Chair Land Use Committee
Downtown Residents Association

cc COV Planning

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