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For those who do not know the Cook Street Village very well, it's located at the foot of Cook Street, approximately six blocks north of Dallas Road and the Dallas Road cliffs. The Village is unique, in that none of the streets that run perpendicular to Cook Street bisect it. It is similar to the Oak Bay Village, which also has this feature. To get a better idea of the layout, click here or on the "Map of the Village" link on the menu to the left.

Because of the Village's pedestrian friendly streets, its small town atmosphere, and its proximity to the downtown, the area surrounding The Cook Street Village is one of Victoria's most popular destinations for both people seeking rental accommodation and people seeking a home to purchase. In fact, the Cook Street "Corridor"--roughly from The Cook Street Village at the south to Fort Street at the north--contains a higher concentration of rental accommodation than any other area in Greater Victoria.

Current Guidelines for the Cook Street Village

It is the opinion of many people in the area surrounding The Cook Street Village and elsewhere, that the existing guidelines are still excellent and should be followed. To view The Cook Street Village development guidelines you can click here. To save the guidelines to your computer for future use, "right-click" on the link and then choose "Save target as. . ." The guidelines are provided in PDF format and are approximately 600 kilobytes in size. If you are connected using a modem, it may take some time to download.

The guidelines were incorporated into a new zone--C3-RM--which zone currently governs development in the Cook Street Village. The guidelines are presented here, rather than the zoning bylaw because the guidelines present concepts in an easily understandable format.

History of Fairfield Zoning

The first section is a Table of Contents for material collected relating to Fairfield Zoning history. Documents outlined in the Table of Contents are available for viewing at the Fairfield Community Association. Anyone wishing to make copies of the documents may do so at the Community Association. A photocopying fee will apply.

The second section ("A Summary") is a summary of what is found in the documents.

Table of Contents:

1. Summary.
2. 1968 Zoning Map of the area.
3. 1976 A Community Plan for Fairfield developed by Interested Community Members.
 
  • Fairfield Community Association begins first local plan in Victoria – parts incorporated in The Suburban Neighbourhoods, which is a study done by the Advisory Planning Commission with the support of the community association and with regulations adopted by council.
  • 1977 excerpt from The Suburban Neighbourhoods
  • (Also available at Municipal Archive file number CD 120 Capital Region Overall Plan for the City of Victoria 1965, CD 121 Draft Community Plan, CD 122 1980 Community Plan and CD 123 Official Community Plan 1986. Available at the City of Victoria Planning Department OCP 1995)
4. City Council Minutes:
 
  • 1967 an example of rezoning large tracts of land from R1-B to R3
  • 1976 Down zoning recommendations in the Suburban Neighbourhood Study
  • 1979 Lower Cook Street Commercial District down zoned C-1 to C-1N
  • 1979 create a Development Permit Area for Lower Cook Street
  • 1982 create guidelines for the Cook Street Village DPA
  • 1983 new zone CR-3M (Commercial Residential Apartment Modified District) in the Cook Street Village
5. 1978 APC Study of Bushby Street _ Dallas Road an example of down zoning to preserve character of the neighbourhood.
6. 1982 APC Study to down zone areas of the Neighbourhood Shopping District Zones to village criteria providing mixed use and small-scale buildings in a traditional domestic neighbourhood.
7. 1982 Presentation Review of the Fairfield Zoning to the Fairfield Community Association.
8. 1983 Comprehensive Study of Cook Street Village
 
  • 4,100 addresses received questionnaire with a return of 540 responses and an additional 800 visits to the Open House in the village.
  • Involvement of the city’s Planning Department, Parks Department, Engineering Department and the Advisory Planning Commission _ Fairfield Community Association.
9. 1983 Fairfield Zoning and Design Policies.
10. 1983 Down zoning in Fairfield to maintain housing stock, heritage values and traditional streetscapes and provide a diversity of housing options.
11. 1987 Study of Village Improvements (unsuccessful because commercial landowners failed to participate with shared costs). 2001 City of Victoria’s Streetscape Study of the Cook Street Village (see City of Victoria’s Planning Department’s compiled amended local plan).
12. 1976-2003 Newspaper clippings.

A Summary:

Rezoning can change a neighbourhood

In the 1960’s the northwest quadrant of Fairfield towards downtown Victoria were rezoned to medium density unknown to many residents living there. Therefore no public hearings were required to demolish many houses and quickly build walk-up apartments.

Community advocates for neighbourhood conservation

In response to the massive changes, community members founded the Fairfield Community Association, which worked with the city from 1975 to 1984 to downzone properties preserving homes and streetscapes. This saved significant heritage and character homes and provided a diversity of housing in Fairfield’s northwest quadrant instead of just apartment blocks. The Fairfield Community Association developed their own local plan as the city studied and published the Inner City Neighbourhoods and the Suburban Neighbourhoods.

Cook Street Village was about to change

In 1983 the Cook Street Village was down zoned from seven storeys. Active community planning with city staff, supported by public surveys and open houses provided guidelines for future developments in the village. An office building proposed for Cook and Pendergast was developed to a maximum of two storeys and in 1996 the office use changed to retail (coffee shop) providing more vibrancy as a community-meeting place.

The community determined the form and character of the village

In 1979 the city placed the village in a Development Permit Area with regulatory controls in the zoning and bylaws to protect the form and character set out in the community driven planning process. In 1983 a new zone improved the village’s small scale mixed use buildings providing local services in a traditional domestic neighbourhood and included in the 1995 City of Victoria Official Community Plan as DPA 13.

The community can determine acceptable limits of change

Strong community advocacy has guided change towards responsible development of the Fairfield neighbourhood past, present and in the future.

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