Council to reconsider variance

After public consultation oversight missed at previous vote, Galerno and Alexander property is back before council

A new residential subdivision proposed for the corner of Galerno and Alexander roads was back before council Tuesday night after the city missed a key procedural step.

Council, at its Sept. 16 meeting, granted the developers a variance to allow a reduced minimum back yard set back in order to accommodate a lot with an irregular shape.

But just days later, city staff realized there had been an oversight.

“On Monday, Sept. 29, it came to light that the 10 day statutory notification to the surrounding neighbours was missed,” Kathleen Wilker, city planner, wrote in a report to council. “Since this legal requirement was missed, council must reconsider the request for variance.”

The 10 day notification period is mandated by the Local Government Act which requires that for any variance permit, a notice must be sent out to all surrounding neighbours. Wilker said the notice serves to let neighbours know that council will be considering the variance at an upcoming council meeting and they are invited to express their support or concerns in writing prior to the meeting.

But because that requirement was missed, council had to reconsider the variance request at Tuesday night’s council meeting, after the Mirror went to press.

As all members of council voted in favour of the variance, any one of those councillors was able to bring forward a motion for reconsideration.

While council was encouraged to debate the application once again, Wilker said city staff is still recommending council approve reducing the minimum setback from seven metres to 2.12 metres.

“This application is requesting a variance of 4.88 metres to accommodate the existing house within the proposed subdivision,” Wilker wrote.

“Although this variance is significant in size, given the irregular configuration of the new lot, the siting of the existing house, and current use of the yard area, (the property line) will function more like a side yard.”

The applicant, in the statement of intent to the city, said the purpose of the variance is to consider the property line as a side yard rather than the backyard which will allow the existing house to conform to the current zoning bylaw setback requirement.

The applicants, Daryl and Christine Boag, held a neighbourhood public meeting on Aug. 27 which five neighbours attended.

According to the minutes of that meeting, none had any concerns or comments regarding the variance.