A sign between two Copper Ridge homes reads “A bylaw to amend the zoning of two RR - Restricted Residential Detached zones lots to allow living suites.” (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Whitehorse mulls zoning changes to allow densification

Previous attempts to increase density brought ‘NIMBYs out in full force’ councillor says

Zoning amendments were all over Whitehorse city council’s agenda at the standing committees meeting April 3.

Kinden Kosick, acting manager of the city’s planning and sustainability department, presented council with a report on public input regarding an amendment that would allow suites in two adjacent Copper Ridge addresses.

Both houses, located on North Star Drive, are zoned restricted residential detached (RR). Of the 966 single-detached lots in Copper Ridge, 120 are zoned RR, a designation that doesn’t allow secondary suites.

Kosick said the city gathered public input at a hearing on March 26 and also received written submissions.

He told council resident concerns included on-site parking being affected on the street, which experiences a high volume of traffic.

Another resident, who was neither for or against the amendment, worried that such a change could affect the character of a neighbourhood, specifically if a similar amendment was made on a cul-de-sac, where lots are semi-contained. Kosick said this amendment will not set a precedent for future applications.

Further feedback showed support for the amendment, with respondents saying additional suites would increase density and reduce sprawl in the city, where there is high demand for rental housing.

That amendment will come forward for a decision on April 9.

Another amendment was introduced, to enable a five-unit housing development on 12th Avenue.

The lot currently has a single-detached house and garage on it. The owner wants to demolish those structures and build five three-bedroom townhouses.

Coun. Betty Irwin said previous attempts at similar amendments in the neighbourhood “(brought) the NIMBYs out in full force” to object.

“The sky was falling down for sure,” Irwin said. “I think that considering the location of this lot, that we’re going to see the same amount of opposition.

“I think we should be prepared that we’re going to get a lot of opposition to this amendment, however I’m always delighted to see something like this come forward where we can increase the density in established neighbourhoods.”

Coun. Samson Hartland said he was more optimistic there would be support for the project.

The amendment will go to first reading on April 9.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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