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Posted: February 23, 2016

Council denies multi-family rezoning

City of Cranbrook council last night held one of the biggest public hearings in years.

Eleven people addressed council during a 40-minute public hearing for Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 3848, with 10 speaking against Eagle Ridge Land Sales Corp.’s aim to rezone 5.5 acres of property located at 1701-30th Avenue North from R-1 (Single Family Extended Residential) to R-2 Three and Four Family Residential Zone, to allow for subdivision and development.

The rezoning application covers two parcels of land with Eagle Ridge Crescent N wedged in the middle.

The applicant wants to build a mix of single, two, three and four family residences.

One of the two parcels is located between the Northwood subdivision and Eagle Ridge Crescent.
One of the two parcels is located between the Northwood subdivision and Eagle Ridge Crescent.

In review, city staff reported to council they have no concerns or objections to the rezoning application, pointing out the “designation is consistent with the mix of adjacent residential zoning designations in the area,” as stated in the Engineering and Development Services’ report to council.

However, a Feb. 9 review by the Advisory Planning Commission resulted in that body not supporting it.

“The APC indicated concerns over the potential built density of the R-2 zoning and perceived impacts on the existing residential development to the south of the property,” the city staff report outlined.

Council, short the absent Mayor Lee Pratt and Coun. Isaac Hockley, heard a variety of concerns from residents living near the property in question, including property devaluation, negative aesthetics impacts, traffic, parking, increased density, loss of privacy and the ‘type’ of people who would move into the neighbourhood. There was also concern about council passing the rezoning based on the proponent assuring them there will only be duplexes constructed on the two properties. If the property is sold, a new owner could construct tri and four-plexes, warned Mt. Proctor Place resident Steve Williams, adding the proposed property use would be “out of character” with the neighbouring areas.

Williams also pointed out he understood the land in question was a “recent tax sale” by the city, which could be “a poor deal for the taxpayers. Multi-use park land could have been a viable option.”

The lone speaker in favour of the rezoning was property co-owner Wayne Ostash, who did assure the roughly 60 people in attendance at city hall, “It was never supposed to be great big tri-plexes or four-plexes; that was never out intention.”

Ostash said nothing “obtrusive” would be built.

Coun. Danielle Cardozo
Coun. Danielle Cardozo

Coun. Danielle Cardozo bristled at the notion that multi-family zoning would bring “certain types of people,” as one speaker said, into the neighbourhood.

“My first home was a duplex,” Cardozo said. “There are young families such as myself who do need affordable housing.”

Potential owners or renters “could be well educated and intelligent and take good care of their home,” she said, noting she would be “fully” in support of the rezoning if a covenant was in place to ensure building scale was kept to a minimum as per the R-2 zone.

Coun. Norma Blissett said she sympathized with the neighbouring property owners, including those who wrote letters to the city on the matter, who stated they purchased their homes, in part, because those two properties were undeveloped.

“We do need to provide some certainty for homeowners that zoning is stable,” she said.

Coun. Tom Shypitka said he respected the proponent’s statement that he would not “overdevelop” but the rezoning isn’t in synch with the neighbouring areas. “This is just not consistent with what this neighbourhood was built on,” he said.

Council unanimously defeated the third reading and adoption of Bylaw No. 3848.

Lead image: The north parcel of land in question has been home to several crows nests over the years.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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