No. The Missing Middle housing initiative will decrease the number of trees in our urban forest.

An important proportion of Victoria’s urban forest and tree canopy is found in the Traditional Residential areas, both as street trees and on private property. These areas also display a diversity of topography which may include varied soil types and rock outcrops. Some fall within important ecosystems, such as Gary Oak meadow. – City of Victoria.

Comment: Missing Middle housing plan threatens Victoria’s trees. – Times Colonist, May 16, 2022

Located in Fairfield Victoria, Rhodo is a collection of 2, 3 & 4 bedroom townhomes built by Aryze Developments. From the image below you can see the trees that have been removed from the two properties where these townhomes were built.

“What was once two heavily treed lots were completely clear cut and only one original tree was left in the new development.  Indeed since the buildings extend right to the edge of the property there is no room left to replace even a fraction of what was lost.” – Anonymous community member

Before and after images of the urban forest surrounding the property where Rhodo has been built.

Before after from Richmond/Fairfield where a duplex replaced a single family home. Note the decrease in the number of trees.

Before after from Sturdee St. where duplexes replaced a single family home. Note the decrease in the number of trees and the absence of green space.

4 Replies to “Will Missing Middle support a healthy urban forest?”

  1. We knew Rhodo was going to be bad, but holy cow, what an eyesore. I couldn’t see anything green on the lot. I seem to recall there were at least a few shrubs in the proposal, to soften the blow, but it’s too dense. There is no setback from the street so it looks more like an office building with store fronts. I feel like I should be ducking when I pass their windows, as not to disturb anyone. Also, I remember questions at the CALUC about privacy for the park users and indeed, it towers over an otherwise lovely children’s play area and tennis courts–not to mention neighbouring homes. Only thing I like is the underground parking. My condolences to folks in this otherwise charming community who have to endure this assault. I’ve changed my walking route to avoid the heartache this development causes.

  2. My understanding is that the tree bylaw for missing middle will be the same as is currently is for single family? Do you have information to the contrary and where could I view that?

    Also, could you show an example of a project that would fall under the missing middle? The Rhondo, being 20 units, would not.

    1. Janice. Thank you for sharing. It is not always an easy thing to do.

      I have been asked to share the original plan with you. Each of the red dots represents a tree that was to be removed on the Rhondo development. As you can see the tree removal was significant.

      Tree Removal

      Rhondo was identified as missing middle by the developer.

      Missing-Middle

      My understanding of the Missing Middle Housing Initiative policy that is being developed is that the developer is only required to maintain a specific number of trees on the property. This would be part of the guidelines they have to following when building. If you owned a single family home however, and wanted to remove trees, you would need to request permission.

      I will confirm with the group I have developed the site for.

      Susan

      1. Thank you Susan for the additional information and look forward for more information about the trees.

        I see in the design guidelines that “For properties that include significant natural features (e.g. significant trees, topography, rocky outcrops), buildings and landscape should be sited and designed to respond to natural topography and protect significant natural features wherever possible. Strategies to achieve this include but are not limited to alternative siting or clustering of buildings to avoid disturbance of natural features, and clustering of parking to reduce pavement on the site.” Nothing about a specific number of trees so I’m curious about that.

        I don’t refute that Rhondo is compromised as townhouses which is a missing middle form, but that development specifically, being 20 units, would not avoid a rezoning with public hearing if the Missing Middle is passed. So I think for clarity of the ramifications of the policy it would be best to show an example of a development that would avoid a rezoning if MMHI is passed.

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