By David F. Rooney
Maple Street residents are angry with City Council’s decision to grant a variance permit to the developer of three new homes on steep terrain.
Six of the eight families that live along the CPR Hill street objected, in writing, to the developer Tannis McKinnon’s request for a variance at 126, 128 and 130 Maple Street.
Resident Peter Cameron said on Sunday that they thought their complaints would be heeded by Council when it considered McKinnon’s request during their November 22 meeting. He and they are disappointed with the result.
According to Development Services Manager Dean Strachan, “the subject properties are zoned Single Family Residential District (R1). The property owner has applied to allow for wider drive way and reduced front yard setbacks in order to build a home on each lot (see Figure 3). The applicant has indicated that the significant slope on the properties limits the site development opportunities.”
The people who live in the immediate area were not impressed.
“A developer, who is unfamiliar with our unique neighborhood, has applied for a variance to reduce the normal building setback from 6 meters down to 1 meter, to widen the driveway limit from six meters to 9.14 meters, and to make the buildings one meter over the height limit,” said long-time resident Peter Cameron. “These requests would put oversized rental unit buildings on our narrow street. There is no yard or green space associated with these units and the building design is unsuitable for a residential neighbourhood.”
Neighbour Peter Donker agreed, saying his “main concern with this new housing development is the snow in the winter and the number of people using this quit street. This street is narrow and giving a minimum setback of only one m will only make it more narrow. Snow still needs to be removed from the drive way, and due to the concrete retaining wall can only be put on the road.
“The snow blows in the past put snow where the houses are located. The retaining
wall and the extra snow will make it dangerous for people backing out.
“I also feel we are packing to much development in an already compacted, unique and soil sensitive area. With this new apartment development on Mackenzie we will have more vehicles then ever on this street.
“The city put a set-back requirement in place for a reason. In some areas a variance would work but this is not one of them.”
Other residents said the project will intrude on their privacy.
“What Council has done is change the rules,” Cameron said during the Sunday interview. “Everybody else who has applied for a variance has been turned down. Why should they grant this variance against the wishes of the entire neighbourhood?”
Although Council considered this application for about 12 minutes Mayor McKee was the only person to question staff about it.
He noted that issues such as potential water problems can be dealt with and he acknowledged that snow clearance will require an effort to locate a place to store any additional snow cleared from new development.
Please activate the YouTube player below to watch Council’s handling of this issue, beginning at the 23:33 mark: