The property at 604 Black St. in Whitehorse on May 5. Whitehorse city council gave second and third readings to a bylaw amendment reducing side and rear yard setbacks for 604 Black St., paving the way for a suite to be built over an existing garage. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Zoning amendment approved for Black Street property

Bylaw change will allow suite to be built over existing garage despite side, rear setbacks

A downtown property owner can proceed with plans to build a suite over his garage after Whitehorse city council gave second and third readings to a bylaw amendment at the regular council meeting on June 29.

Bylaw 2020-21, an amendment to the city’s zoning bylaw, reduces both the side yard and rear yard setback requires for 604 Black St.

The change reduces the size of the side setback by 30 centimetres from 1.5 metres to 1.2 m and the size of the rear setback by one m from three m to two m.

The garage structure is already in place, and the property owner indicated to council that relocating or rebuilding the structure to meet existing requirements would not have been feasible.

Coun. Dan Boyd voted in favour of the change, but warned the change would likely open up future similar requests for changes.

“Changing the side yard setbacks for this particular one is a bit of a dangerous precedent because that will become the standard for the setbacks in the whole downtown and maybe other places on the side yards,” Boyd said. “I do have, in the back of my mind, some reservation on this.”

Coun. Laura Cabott also voted for the amendment while also voicing concern about how this type of “spot zoning” meshes with the current Official Community Plan and work on a new OCP.

“This is an example of spot zoning, where it applies to one lot within a large zoned area,” Cabott said. “When you do spot zoning, as we all know, it can create unfairness because what it does is favour one owner over others.”

Cabbott asked administration what it would take to look into evaluating the pros and cons of a larger zoning amendment.

City manager Linda Rapp said the issue could be flagged for the next OCP workshop.

Coun. Steve Roddick also weighed in on the change, stressing that the actual changes were small — 30 cm and one m respectively — and that this was a concrete thing council could do to improve the city’s housing situation.

“If there are a number of other people who may also be considering turning their garages — which are not quite in compliance with these same setbacks — into suites, that seems like a good thing for the city,” Roddick said. “If council can minimize costs in doing so by allowing them to build on top of those garages instead of tearing them down and building new ones, then we can contribute to (lowering the) cost of housing in the city as well. I see this as a win-win.”

The bylaw received first reading on May 11, public notice was made on May 15 and May 22, and a public hearing was held on June 15.

The only submission received at the public hearing was from the owner, Kurt Fraser, in favour of the amendment.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at

Whitehorse city council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Chloe Tatsumi dismounts the balance beam to cap her routine during the Yukon Championships at the Polarettes Gymnastics Club on May 1. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Gymnasts vie in 2021 Yukon Championships

In a year without competition because of COVID-19, the Polarettes Gymnastics Club hosted its Yukon Championships.

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Yukon Budget 2.0

If the banks that finance the Yukon’s growing debt were the only… Continue reading

Yukon Supreme Court Chief Justice Suzanne Duncan dismissed an application on May 3 seeking more transparity on the territory’s state of emergency declaration. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Supreme Court rules confidential memo can’t be used in challenge of state of emergency

Court upholds cabinet confidentiality after request to use internal government memo as evidence.


Wyatt’s World for May 7, 2021.… Continue reading

The deceased man, found in Lake LaBerge in 2016, had on three layers of clothing, Dakato work boots, and had a sheathed knife on his belt. Photo courtesy Yukon RCMP
RCMP, Coroner’s Office seek public assistance in identifying a deceased man

The Yukon RCMP Historical Case Unit and the Yukon Coroner’s Office are looking for public help to identify a man who was found dead in Lake LaBerge in May 2016.

Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine minesite has created a mess left to taxpayers to clean up, Lewis Rifkind argues. This file shot shows the mine in 2009. (John Thompson/Yukon News file)
Editorial: The cost of the Wolverine minesite

Lewis Rifkind Special to the News The price of a decent wolverine… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: border opening and Yukon Party texts

Dear Premier Sandy Silver and Dr Hanley, Once again I’m disheartened and… Continue reading

Fire chief Jason Everett (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City launches emergency alert system

The city is calling on residents and visitors to register for Whitehorse Alert

Two young orienteers reach their first checkpoint near Shipyards Park during a Yukon Orienteering Association sprint race May 5. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Orienteers were back in action for the season’s first race

The Yukon Orienteering Association began its 2021 season with a sprint race beginning at Shipyards.

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its May 3 meeting and the upcoming 20-minute makeover.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister talks tourism in “virtual visit” to the Yukon

Tourism operators discussed the budget with Freeland

Polarity Brewing is giving people extra incentive to get their COVID vaccine by offering a ‘free beer’ within 24 hours of their first shot. John Tonin/Yukon News
Polarity Brewing giving out ‘free’ beer with first COVID vaccination

Within 24 hours of receiving your first COVID-19 vaccine, Polarity Brewing will give you a beer.

Most Read