Whitehorse city council passed an amendment June 25 that will allow a commercially-zoned Copper Ridge property to be re-zoned for a multi-use townhouse.
Coun. Dan Boyd was the only one opposed to the amendment, which has raised concerns from residents in the area. Those range from worries about property values and parking, to the building’s design, which some residents have told council won’t fit in with the single-family homes and duplexes in the neighbourhood.
The amendment asked for the property to be re-zoned from CN (neighbourhood commercial) to RM (residential multiple housing) to allow for a 10-unit complex.
At a general council meeting June 25, Boyd said he understood the residents who bought homes there expecting that a commercial property would be established on the 3,600 sq. m lot.
“It’s the changing of the rules partway through the game that causes the difficulty for people,” Boyd told council. “And that brings us back to public consultation. I certainly would have no problem with it if the community said it works for them and there’s no objection, or little objection. This time, it was quite a bit of an objection and the public consultation time for it was very limited.”
Coun. Rob Fendrick said he thinks a housing development of any sort in the city is positive. He also said that, if the city is meant to be a policy-driven organization, and developers follow guidelines and policies, he doesn’t see what the problem is.
It’s a free-market scenario, he said. In order to sell units, the development has to be attractive. Fendrick said the location is a prime one, with higher property values, and he is confident it will be developed and built to guidelines that will attract buyers.
Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu agreed with Fendrick, though she said she understands resident concerns about the loss of potential commercial space.
Both Fendrick and Coun. Betty Irwin said they felt a commercial property could bring even more traffic to the street than a 10-unit townhouse will. Irwin also suggested that, under existing zoning, the owner of the property could put in anything from a gas bar to a sex shop, which would also change the character of the area.
This option, said Fendrick, will put more housing on the market.
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