City looks to amend Hillcrest plan

The Hillcrest Neighbourhood Plan will come before council's final vote next week, but first the city administration wants to see some changes to it.

The Hillcrest Neighbourhood Plan will come before council’s final vote next week, but first the city administration wants to see some changes to it.

A series of concerns were raised over the new zoning rules contained in the plan

and the effect they would have on three buildings already in the area.

Two people spoke at a public hearing on April 7, and the city received three written submissions outlining the complaints.

Pat Ross, the city’s manager of planning services, presented the concerns and the administration’s recommendations to city council on Monday night.

Chief among them is a worry about a requirement to have paved driveways and walkways on private property.

Coun. John Streicker pointed out that “most of Hillcrest is already built, and most of the driveways are gravel.”

Since the new driveway rules only apply to new developments, and the community is pretty much finished anyway, perhaps the city should take another look at the requirement, Streicker suggested.

City administration proposed changing the bylaw as it applies to 122 Dalton Trail and 20 Roundel Road.

Without those amendments, both properties would be put into “non-compliance” status, meaning they technically violate the new community plan bylaw even though they were built according to pre-existing regulations, said Ross.

On Dalton Trail, the worry is that the building is half a metre too tall. Its roof peak is 8.5 metres high, and the current proposed zoning limits roof height to eight metres.

At 20 Roundel, the concern is over the size of the property’s front yard set-back. The property is only 1.5 metres back from the road, but the new rules would require it to be four metres back. In order to do any redevelopment on the property, the entire building would have to be moved.

In both cases, putting each building into “non-compliance” would mean that the building owners could not do any major renovations or updates, except those that bring the building closer to conformity.

Ross said that in the case of 20 Roundel, it was only constructed in 2011 and met those bylaw requirements. “It wouldn’t be fair to change the rules on it so quickly,” he said.

“They did what we asked. They built where we told them to build,” Ross said, adding that changing the bylaws to put the building into non-conformance could have serious consequences for the property value down the road, especially for such a new building.

City administration recommends changing the zoning boundaries in that area, to move 122 Dalton Trail into the residential single-detached zone. The city is also suggesting removing references to roof line, roof height and second storey floor elevation from the bylaw, and allowing 20 Roundel to keep its current zoning.

Other concerns raised included a feeling that the neighborhood planning process was driven by “a few noisy residents” and that the plan does not reflect the interests of all property owners in the Hillcrest area.

Ross pointed out that the city did have lots of input from the community over the course of a number of public engagement events and a planning charette. In all, 22 people took park, and there were 15 written submissions during the October comment period before the bylaw was presented to council.

The bylaw will come forward for second and third reading next week.

Contact Jesse Winter at