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Developer outlines plans for downtown suite

Rezoning would alter setback requirements
The property at 604 Black St. in Whitehorse on May 5. The downtown property owner says his plans to add a suite over a garage on the property would be a benefit to the downtown, providing a new rental unit that will have a low impact on the neighbourhood. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

A downtown property owner says his plans to add a suite over a garage on his property would benefit the neighbourhood, providing a new rental unit that will have a low impact on the neighbourhood.

Kurt Fraser is applying to have his property at 604 Black St. rezoned so the plans for the suite can go ahead. He made the only submission on the rezoning at a public hearing during Whitehorse city council’s June 15 meeting. As council chambers aren’t currently open to the public due to COVID-19, only written submissions for public hearings are being accepted with those posted to the city’s website.

The zoning change would reduce the side and rear yard setbacks, with the side yard setback on the southeast side of the lot down to 1.2 metres from the current 1.5 m and the rear yard setback decreased to two m from the current three m.

By changing the setbacks Fraser could build the suite over the garage on the lot.

In his submission to council, Fraser said the suite will be a good fit for the property without overcrowding it and parking/amenity space remaining.

“It is my goal to achieve this while keeping it a low impact, functional, comfortable, attractive addition to the neighbourhood,” he stated in his submission.

He said he considered relocating the garage to meet the current setback requirements for a suite, but it did not prove feasible.

“The boiler which heats the main house is located in the garage and all electrical and fuel lines run down through the slab underground into the main house,” Fraser explained.

“To move the garage would entail tearing down and disposing of the well-built 2x6 walled, good condition garage, jack hammer out the old slab, then pouring new footings and slab. Then starting from scratch building a new garage.

“The cost of this was over $100,000 and would not be financially possible to do, just to add a suite.”

If the city approves the rezoning the suite could be built in a way that meets all code requirements and bylaws, he said.

Fraser also said he’s spoken with neighbors about the plan and they seem receptive to it.

“Given the layout and positioning of the dwellings here this suite would not significantly impact on views or light as it will be situated in the back of the property adjacent to alley,” he wrote in his submission.

Fraser has also met with ATCO Electric Yukon staff and would be working with the company to ensure the project meet all of its requirements as well.

Plumbing would run from the suite underground and tie into to the main house on the property, which has three rental units inside. The same boiler that heats the main house would be used for the new unit.

“I believe this will be an asset to the community and a tastefully designed functional suite for many years to come,” Fraser said.

“The property will then come up to its allowed maximum of four suites and be much less intrusive in size than some of the newer built four unit buildings.”

Council is expected to vote on the final two readings of the rezoning June 29.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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