Sunday, April 17, 2011

West Vancouver Council Approves Public Hearing for Hollyburn Mews on May 16, 2011

It has been 8 months since I purchased three lots on Esquimalt Avenue in West Vancouver, to be redeveloped with 9 smaller cottage style duplex and coach house units. An earlier proposal for a similar concept by a West Vancouver builder went through an extensive community consultation process, but did not obtain Council approval.

Since I purchased the properties, I retained Formwerks Architectural and Durante Krueck Landscape Architects to further develop plans that I prepared for the project. I now believe we have addressed many of the earlier concerns regarding the design, and its neighbourhood 'fit'.

The purpose of Hollyburn Mews is to provide new housing choices for West Vancouver residents who are ready to downsize from a larger home or lot, but are not ready, or do not want to move into an apartment. Instead they are seeking thoughtfully designed, well located ground oriented homes with small patios, porches in a garden like setting.The location of Hollyburn Mews could not be much better. It is one block north of Marine Drive with its array of restaurants and cafes, shops and services, the Library and transit. To the west is the West Vancouver Seniors' Centre and the fabulous new Recreation Centre; to the south is West Vancouver United Church; the Bowling Greens are to the south east.The proposal comprises three duplex units along Esquimalt Avenue. Each is designed to resemble a larger, single family house. Along the lane are three coach houses and garages for the nine homes. The exterior designs are inspired by traditional West Vancouver cottages and houses. Here is a link to the staff report which includes the rezoning report and project drawings.

Below are some images of the new site plan, elevations and perspective drawings of the street view and laneway view.If you agree there is a need for this type of housing, and you feel the proposal fits with the neighbourhood, please let the Mayor and Council know by writing to and sharing your thoughts. I will appreciate it, and so will the many people who would like to see this creative and innovative proposal succeed.

On April 18th, Council approved forwarding this application, along with an Official Community Plan Amendment for the entire block, to Public Hearing on May 16th. Hopefully both will be approved and construction can begin this summer. Write to me at for further details.


Cameron said...

Michael, you've made some interesting changes from the previous scheme. The one thing that jumps out at me is the lack of covered porches facing the common areas. I personally love having a covered porch and would take that over an exposed patio. In many examples of pocket neighborhoods, the covered porch becomes that all important outdoor room that becomes a wonderful place for interaction with the neighbors. I'd almost be inclined to remove the patios from the street side and keep the focus to the inner common areas, treating this as a true pocket neighborhood. I'd love to see more of these types of developments pop up on the lower mainland.

Michael Geller said...

Cameron, thanks...

In fact there are porches on every unit facing the internal gardens, both the coach houses and duplexes, but perhaps they need to be increased in size a bit. I agree that they create a special type of semi public, semi private space that can be delightful...cheers

Barb Justason said...

Michael, I'm finding myself thinking I want to be you when I grow up. If I had the time, and was 20 years younger, I'd stalk you until you relented and made me your apprentice developer / urban planner. Your work seems unusually well anchored to true sustainability -- economic, environmental and social needs.

Michael Geller said...

Barb, thanks for your kind words. I must say, a major reason for not entering municipal politics this year is that I get a lot of enjoyment from designing and building homes.

And as I have mentioned to a number of people, hopefully, if West Vancouver approves this form of development, it might be possible to replicate it in Port Coquitlam and other Metro municipalities!

Jhanvi Desai said...

After achieving Council Approval Drawings, we will meet with you again to refine the details of your home and prepare a package of final construction drawings and documentation which confirms all your exterior and interior design choices.