Housing regulations restrict ‘freedoms’: Graham

Strict housing regulations threaten to transform Whitehorse neighbourhoods into virtually identical "cookie cutter communities," councillor Doug Graham told council on Monday. Politicians were discussing amendments to the

Strict housing regulations threaten to transform Whitehorse neighbourhoods into virtually identical “cookie cutter communities,” councillor Doug Graham told council on Monday.

Politicians were discussing amendments to the city’s housing bylaw.

The amendments were straying from their original “make things a little different” intention, said Graham.

Speculative housing has bred swaths of clone houses jammed close together, a mediocrity planners were looking to avoid through bylaw amendments, said senior planner Mike Gau.

A house must be painted a different colour than its immediate neighbours.

“There’s the whole rainbow to pick from,” said Gau.

Houses must also be staggered a minimum of 0.6 metres relative to neighbouring dwellings. They must also have a front yard between two and four metres deep.

Driveways must be hard-surfaced.

The amendment also proposes a slew of environmentally friendly building regulations.

Efficient windows and high insulation values are all positive, “but as soon as we get into cosmetics and what people can do, I think we’re moving the wrong way,” he said.

At a recent public hearing, one person was concerned builders could use gravel as a landscaping material, tainting the esthetic quality of the neighbourhood and sapping the Yukon’s scarce gravel supplies.

“People should be allowed to … build the ugliest front yard they want, because they worked just as hard for their property as I did,” said councillor Jeanine Myhre.

Gravel should have to be put on a surface that doesn’t allow weeds to grow, said Stockdale.

“Salt,” offered one councillor.

Contact Tristin Hopper at

tristinh@yukon-news.com