Council rejects duplex proposal

Brind’Amour Road neighbourhood residents have reason to celebrate after they successfully fought a re-development proposal in their neighbourhood.

Developer Ted Maxwell, also a resident of the neighbourhood, applied to the city to re-zone nine of his single-family lots on Strathcona Way to single-family with a secondary suite and two others to duplex lots.

Affected home owners were vocal in their opposition to the re-zonings, sending a petition with 16 signatures to City Hall and writing more than 20 letters to the city outlining their concerns.

The biggest worry for residents was the extra traffic they perceived would be associated with secondary suites – which require a designated parking space – and heavier traffic volumes along narrow neighbourhood streets as a result of bringing in more people.

Residents were also concerned their property values would go down with having renters in the neighbourhood. City council agreed with the neighbours on Tuesday night and quashed the bylaw to re-zone Maxwell’s lots. Coun. Ziggy Stewart said people purchased their homes on the basis that the neighbourhood would stay single family and that council should honour the original zoning the city approved.

“There are a lot of instances where we’ve accepted mixed uses in neighbourhoods,” said Stewart. “But in this case it would alter the neighbourhood dramatically; it changes the whole outcome of what the neighbourhood is.”

Coun. Ryan Mennie supported the motion to rescind first and second reading of the bylaw but pointed out that council has to be careful about making suggestions that rental properties are not favourable in the community.

“A lot of people are looking for affordable housing such as duplexes and secondary suites and we don’t want to sweep them aside and say they are not favourable to the city because they really are a stepping stone for young people and young families in our community,” said Mennie.

Coun. Claire Moglove said she supports the idea of in-fill and affordable housing, which the re-zoning would accomplish, but said it worked against the city’s goal of having everyone within five minutes of “something substantial.”

“There’s nowhere to walk to, no parks nearby, no school nearby and it’s three kilometres to the closest supermarket. I know because I drove it the other day,” said Moglove. “If this property was closer to town perhaps I’d give it some thought or if this type of multi-family use had been done at the outset of the development plans. It’s very important in my view that what’s existing and what the city approved in 2008, be supported.”

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