Just call him Dave Stopdale.
That’s how Dave Stockdale spelled his name for the record at Whitehorse city council Monday night. And despite the laughter coming from around council’s table, the veteran councillor was not joking.
Stockdale took on the role of a delegate during a public hearing about a zoning amendment to a Riverdale property. George Clarke wants to turn his one-storey single detached house into a two-storey duplex. He also wants to build another parking space on his property. Under current city zoning bylaws, his property is too small for a duplex. He wants an exception.
Stockdale doesn’t approve.
“It doesn’t fit into the neighbourhood,” he told his fellow councillors Monday night. A duplex on the property won’t look good, he said.
He can’t be sure that this change will set a precedent, said Stockdale. But it opens that door. “How can you refuse someone else who comes and says something like this?” he asked council. “There’s just no way. It’s just totally out of whack.”
Clarke’s property, 2 Aishihik Rd., is on the corner of Alsek Rd., the street Stockdale has lived on since 1972. When he first came to Riverdale, there were just four houses behind his and the area still had a dirt road, he said Thursday morning.
The only other time Stockdale has ever taken the citizens’ chair was during his first term between 1983 and 1985 when he wanted to give council information about a proposed ball park in the city. He wasn’t planning to speak on Monday night, he said Thursday morning.
“Monday night I didn’t feel there seemed to be enough opposition coming in from the neighbourhood. And I know I’m not supposed to show my hand as I show bias, but this would be one of the worst decisions that council could make as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
His own property won’t be directly impacted by the change, he said. But he drives by Clarke’s property every day, and “it’s an eyesore,” he said. Over the years, he has called and complained about the property, he said. There have been boats and an old bus on the property over the years. But he hasn’t spoken to Clarke about his concerns about this project, he said.
People often want to build duplexes or garden suites on their property to pay for their living expenses, said Stockdale. But it’s not council’s job to change zoning bylaws so they can do that, he said.
“I didn’t want it to come to first reading in the first place, but everybody says, ‘Well, we have to give everybody their day in court,’” he said. “But sometimes, you really don’t. It costs money to do that kind of thing.”
He was the only councillor to oppose the bylaw when it had its first reading on Nov. 26.
Clarke, 82, wants to build the duplex so some of his family members can live there, he said on Thursday. They won’t be renting, he said. He has had a boat and a licensed RV on the property, he said. But they were in compliance, and there’s nothing on his property now that isn’t in compliance, he said.
The city received five written responses on the amendment, council was told Monday. Four of those were negative.
Clarke has not seen any of these letters, he said. He attended city council Monday night, but didn’t speak.
Fred Smith, who also lives on Alsek Rd., expressed his concerns about the project to council. A two-storey duplex won’t fit an area dominated by single-family dwellings, he said.
On Monday, city administration will present a report to council about the bylaw. The amendment will go for second reading on Jan. 28. If it passes, it could have a third and final reading that same night.
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