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Council nixes idea of smaller lots

DEVELOPER Rod Toovey speaks at a city rezoning hearing on Jan. 24  - kat lee PHOTO
DEVELOPER Rod Toovey speaks at a city rezoning hearing on Jan. 24
— image credit: kat lee PHOTO

THE IDEA of smaller lot sizes in one neighbourhood was turned down by city council after residents came out to reject the notion.

About a dozen area neighbouring residents spoke against a rezone amendment application during a council meeting Jan. 24, which would turn 3323 Munroe St. from an R1 zone to an R1-A zone.

The rezone application fits into the official community plan for the Munroe property in question. It’s a large treed lot on the corner of Munroe and Walsh Ave., kitty corner to Skeena Jr. Secondary School, and now contains one older home.

While both are single family residential zones, R1-A would allow for smaller lot subdivisions on the property; under an R1 zone, six lots could be developed, while eight new lots could be built in an R1-A zone.

Rod Toovey of Skeena Valley Rentals Ltd. owns the Munroe St. property and was looking to rezone it, saying that seniors have approached him looking for smaller-sized, affordable properties.

“Basically, I was asking for two extra lots,” he said. “I feel that adding new houses, whether it’s six or eight, will add value to the neighbourhood.”

But neighbours voiced concern over adding even more traffic to an already high-traffic area by Skeena Junior Secondary, as well as issues with the bus stop by the Munroe property.

“It doesn’t fit with our current neighbourhood, the change to a bylaw that would allow eight tiny little lots on that piece of property,” said area resident Carol Reynolds, noting that driveways on the corner and street could pose a problem to traffic.

Others pointed out that the area is an older neighbourhood with big-lot properties and the zoning change would increase the number of residents in the area and change the character of the neighbourhood.

Another resident was worried about trees on the property being taken down, which would make their yard less private, and some were concerned with the resale value of their houses with the potential neighbourhood change.

“The size of the lots and the amount of them are a concern and....are unnecessary at this time in this community,” said area resident Teresa Wraight.

Council unanimously agreed with the residents and struck down the application, citing neighbourhood concerns and it being an inappropriate area for R1-A as reasons for the rejection.

R1-A reduces lot frontage and allows for smaller and less expensive homes to be built on smaller lots.

The previous city council unanimously approved the R1-A concept for JAMYST Developments to develop smaller lots on the large undeveloped parcel of land right beside Cedar River Physiotherapy. It’s on the 3200 Block of Munroe, south of the Skeena Valley Rentals property but on the opposite site of the street. The lots have yet to be developed, as JAMYST is responsible for the expense of road development.

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