The owners of 39 14th Ave in Porter Creek have spent the past couple months requesting a zoning amendment to allow a living suite in the residence for an aging family member. Whitehorse city council turned down the proposed zoning amendment in a 6-1 vote at council’s Sept. 14 meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Council turns down zoning amendment

Property owners will not be permitted to add a suite to their RR-zoned home

Whitehorse city council has voted against a zoning amendment that would have permitted a living suite to be built inside a home on 14th Avenue.

In a 6-1 vote at council’s Sept. 14 meeting, members defeated the bylaw for the rezoning of 39 14th Ave. at second reading. Coun. Steve Roddick was the only council member to vote in favour of the change.

With the home zoned Restricted Residential (RR), a living suite isn’t permitted, prompting the owners to request the change for their home as they planned to build a suite for an aging family member.

A public hearing held in August heard arguments both for and against the change.

A submission signed by four neighbours in opposition argued it would impact the character of the neighbourhood, and there would be insufficient parking available, among other concerns about it.

Meanwhile, those who expressed support (including the home owner and another neighbour) pointed to parking available on the property and highlighted city efforts to encourage denser housing throughout Whitehorse with the neighbour also stating she has no concerns about traffic, parking or negative impacts on the area. It was also suggested the change will support aging-in-place in the shorter term and housing affordability in the long term.

It was also noted that while the home is one of four infill properties that was added in 2011 to that section of 14th Avenue with the RR zoning, across the street and nearby are a number of other homes zoned as Residential Single which allow for suites and other denser housing types.

Ahead of the Sept. 14 vote though a number of council members highlighted concern over the spot zoning.

Coun. Samson Hartland said residents who purchased RR zoned homes likely did so for the lifestyle with a number of restrictions put in place on the zone that hold the properties to a higher development standard. Along with suites not being permitted in the zone, RR properties are required to have hard surfaced driveways, must be a minimum of 700 square meters and meet other requirements.

Hartland said if there’s a serious desire to change RR zoning to allow for suites it should be revisited as part of an overall bylaw rewrite that would encompass all RR properties.

Coun. Laura Cabott agreed, highlighting the history of the area, noting that when the infill properties were added in 2011 the zone was likely chosen due to public concerns in the interest of maintaining a lower density in the area.

While ultimately future developments in the city may move away from this type of zoning, going ahead with a zoning change for this is also not the right move, she said.

She said she would vote against the zoning change, but hopes there is a larger discussion on the overall change as the next Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw are developed.

Coun. Jan Stick also said she would like to see a larger discussion on the zone as part of the OCP review with Mayor Dan Curtis stating that though the decision on the proposed rezoning has not been an easy one, he would not support it going forward.

Coun. Dan Boyd, meanwhile, who attended the meeting by conference call pointed out it was only in recent years the property and the three other RR zones in the same area was developed and sold with its current zoning in place.

Those who purchased those homes understood what the zoning was. To quickly change that would undermine the zoning process, he said.

“I’m not comfortable with changing zoning like this,” Boyd said.

Before raising his hand as the lone vote in favour of the change, Roddick highlighted a previous survey showing some support through the city for allowing suites in RR-zoned homes and described the change as “a matter of evolution of the city.”

He pointed out that RR properties are larger and, therefore, can accommodate such changes.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

HousingWhitehorse city council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

Most of Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 graduates. The former students were welcomed back and honoured by staff at the school on Oct. 14 with a personalized grad ceremony for each graduate. (Submitted)
Individual Learning Centre grads honoured

Members of the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 were welcomed… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Evan Lafreniere races downhill during the U Kon Echelon Halloweeny Cross-Country Race on Oct. 16. (Inara Barker/Submitted)
Costumed bike race marks end of season

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club hosted its final race of the… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Most Read