April 12, 2017 - Minutes

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City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

Development Permit Panel

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


3:30 p.m.


Council Chambers
Richmond City Hall


Joe Erceg, Chair
Cathryn Volkering-Carlile, General Manager, Community Services
Robert Gonzalez, General Manager, Engineering and Public Works


The meeting was called to order at 3:33 p.m.




It was moved and seconded


That the minutes of the meeting of the Development Permit Panel held on March 29, 2017, be adopted.




Development Permit 16-735007
(REDMS No. 5313132 v. 3)



Alex Sartori




6020 No. 4 Road






Permit the construction of a Single-Family Residential Dwelling at 6020 No. 4 Road on a site zoned “Agriculture (AG1)” zone and designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).


Applicant’s Comments


Rosa Salcido, Vivid Green Architecture, Inc., provided background information on the proposed development, noting that the size of the house, building footprint, and number of bedrooms have been reduced in response to staff comments.


Ms. Salcido further noted that (i) the proposed development meets and even exceeds minimum setback requirements, (ii) the house will be located at the western portion of the site to minimize impacts to the Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA), (iii) the house will have five bedrooms with own bathrooms on the second floor, one bedroom on the ground floor, and a secondary suite with two bedrooms, and (iv) the area adjacent to No. 4 Road will be screened with a row of trees.


Alex Sartori, Sartori Environmental Services, reviewed the key findings of the “Biologist’s Environmental Assessment” conducted in the subject site, noting that the ESA has been delineated and redefined.


Mr. Sartori further noted that the environmental assessment recommends that (i) the redefined ESA be enhanced and maintained in perpetuity, (ii) protective fencing be installed around the redefined ESA, (iii) invasive plant species be removed, (iii) native species be planted to enhance the ESA, and (iv) the ESA be irrigated to sustain the long-term maintenance and growth of the proposed plantings.


In response to queries from the Panel regarding the size and design of the proposed single detached dwelling which would occupy a significant portion of the ESA, Ms. Salcido commented that (i) the proposed lot coverage is less than the bylaw requirement, (ii) the site lay-out has been compressed to minimize impacts to the ESA, (iii) relocating the driveway entrance further to the south resulted in longer internal drive aisles, (iv) the L-shaped lay-out of the house provides easy access to the bedrooms from the corridor, (v) the port cochere provides weather protection for residents accessing the main entry to the house, and (vi) the original floor area has been reduced, resulting in the removal of two bedrooms and a portion of the common area.


Chloe Lee, Bouthouse Design Group, Inc., briefed the Panel on the main landscaping features for the proposed development, noting that (i) native species trees, shrubs and ground covers will be planted to enhance the ESA, (ii) a water feature is proposed at the southeast corner of the house, (iii) a wood deck over the septic field and seating area will be installed, and (iv) permeable pavers are proposed for the internal drive aisles and pedestrian walkway to the front entrance.


In response to a query from the Panel, Ms. Lee advised that native species of trees, shrubs, and ground covers will provide a more natural habitat for wildlife in the redefined ESA at the eastern portion of the site.


Panel Discussion


Discussion ensued regarding the data provided by the applicant on the total area of ESA retained and it was noted that it was not consistent with the data indicated in the staff report.


Staff Comments


Wayne Craig, Director, Development, advised that the Arborist’s Report and Biologist’s Report identified the environmental assets in the subject site and their recommendations focused on protecting, preserving and enhancing the most valuable environmental assets.


Mr. Craig further noted that as a condition for the issuance of development permit for the subject property, there will be a legal agreement to ensure that the ESA will be retained, enhanced and maintained in perpetuity.


Gallery Comments


Sam Burlo, 10220 Westminster Highway, inquired about the current building permit fee for the proposed development and questioned the subject property’s designation as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA), noting that soil quality in the subject property does not warrant such designation. Therefore, Mr. Burlo suggested that the subject property could be reclassified.


Also, Mr. Burlo inquired about the elevation of the subject property and commented that the significant grade difference between the adjacent road and the subject property causes drainage problems in the area and adversely impacts the environment.


In closing, Mr. Burlo spoke of the unsuitability of including birch trees for the proposed landscaping and ESA enhancement of the subject property, noting that they are invasive species and have a short life span. He therefore suggested that birch trees could be replaced with cherry trees which are more durable.


In response to the query of Mr. Burlo regarding the building permit fee for the proposed development, the Chair stated that building permit is outside the purview of the Panel and noted that there is a development permit process in place for lands designated as ESAs.


In response to the query of Mr. Burlo regarding the elevation of the subject property, Mr. Craig advised that (i) the City’s Flood Plain Bylaw requires that the minimum habitable elevation for the subject site is 2.9 meters GSC, and (ii) the proposed ground floor elevation of the single detached home to be constructed ranges from 3.4 meters to 3.6 meters GSC.


In response to the concern regarding the proposed planting of birch trees on the subject site, Ms. Lee stated that the choice of birch trees is consistent with City guidelines for environmental protection of ESAs; however, she acknowledged that she is willing to replace them with a different tree species.


Helmut Kramer, 6140 No. 4 Road, stated that he is a long-time resident in the area and expressed concern regarding the (i) the significant paved area in the adjacent property to the north of the subject site, (ii) the size of the proposed single-family home in the subject site, and (iii) the significant amount of proposed paving on the subject site which would negatively impact the community feel of the neighbourhood. 


In response to a query from the Panel, Mr. Craig confirmed that the existing development to the north of the subject site is zoned “Agriculture (AG1)” which allows the construction of single detached housing.


Gerhard Meuter, 6130 No. 4 Road, commented that he is not in favour of the proposed development and was of the opinion that the proposed single-detached dwelling, with five bedrooms with own bathrooms, appears like a hotel, and (ii) a significant increase in site grading in the subject property will result in flooding of neighbouring properties during winter.


In response to the concern of Mr. Meuter, Mr. Sartori commented that the applicant will look into the proposed development’s potential impacts to neighbouring properties’ drainage and report the findings to the Panel.






Panel Discussion


Discussion ensued on (i) the size and design of the proposed development, (ii) the extensive encroachment of the development into the ESA, and (iii) the rationale for the proposed location of the septic field in the eastern portion of the ESA which has more ecological values.


The Panel also noted that (i) information provided by staff and the applicant on the extent of the proposed development’s impacts to the ESA needs to be reviewed and reconciled, (ii) concerns regarding the proposed development’s impacts to neighbouring properties should be investigated and addressed, and (iii) the correlation between the proposed landscaping scheme and enhancement of the ESA needs to be explained by the applicant.


As a result of the discussion, the following referral motion was introduced:


Panel Decision


It was moved and seconded


That Development Permit application 16-735007 be referred back to staff for further discussions with the applicant to:



consider redesigning the proposed development to minimize its encroachment into the ESA;



investigate and address potential impacts of the proposed development to  neighbouring properties’ drainage;



review and reconcile data provided by staff and the applicant regarding the extent of the proposed development’s impacts to the ESA;



clarify the rationale for the proposed location of the septic field; and



further explain how the proposed landscaping would enhance the redefined ESA and mitigate the development’s impacts to the ESA.




Date of Next Meeting:  April 26, 2017




It was moved and seconded


That the meeting be adjourned at 4:20 p.m.




Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the Development Permit Panel of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.



Joe Erceg

Rustico Agawin
Auxiliary Committee Clerk