The city must avoid looking like it’s kowtowing to the Yukon power elite and ensure its bylaws apply equally to bigwigs and small fries alike.
So says Ian Pumphrey.
He owns a light industrial lot in the Mt. Sima industrial subdivision. On Monday, he challenged a development application by Northern Vision Development Corporation.
Northern Vision wants the caretaker bylaw amended to permit one lot per business, with three units per lot.
Currently, the law permits one 288-square-metre “caretaker suite” per industrial or commercial lot.
If allowed, Northern Vision proposes to build up to 60 caretaker suites in its massive Marwell industrial area development.
It’s unlikely all 60 suites would be built, said Northern Vision spokesman Ted Lambert.
The company is wants to offer the suite as an option. It is not trying to build a residential subdivision, he said.
Clarification of the bylaw is needed, said Pumphrey, who was told he couldn’t apply for a similar development about a year ago by city planning officials.
“I was interested I doing a similar plan in Mt. Sima and the planning department wasn’t interested in doing it at the time,” said Pumphrey.
“When I went to the planning department I was told that this couldn’t happen.”
That was just one lot.
Now, the city’s considering an application to allow 20 lots to have three caretaker units on each one.
He wants to know if Northern Vision is getting a shot at its development because of some of the big names involved in the development, he said.
Former Yukon premier Piers McDonald and former government Economic Development minister Trevor Harding are executives with Northern Vision Development.
If Northern Vision’s development is approved, council can expect a flood of applications, he said.
“Many more interested parties will come forward with an interest in doing the same thing,” he said.
“You can not only anticipate it, mine will be one of them.”
Instead of a case-by-case application system, he’d like to see the law apply equally to everyone.
“What I would like to see is the bylaw be more broadly defined,” said Pumphrey.
“The law should apply equally across the board.”
Councillor Dave Stockdale has his own concerns about Northern Vision’s proposed development.
If the development’s approved the area’s streets could be teaming with kids, he said.
He’d like council to bar families from moving into the area.
“It may even go against human rights, but could we say that only single people or couples could live there — we could have 50 or 60 kids running around there,” said Stockdale.
“If we can go around catching dogs, why can’t we go around catching children?”
The city probably couldn’t do that, said Clive Sparks, the city’s acting operations director.
“That would be very difficult to enforce,” he said.
Planning manager Mike Gau could not be reached for comment.