Council rezones to allow two duplexes in a new infill subdivision

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
March 15th, 2012

Council unanimously supported a rezoning application for 2464A Third Ave to allow Kevin Fairweather of K2  Contracting to build duplexes (zone R2S from R1) on the property.

The property lies just outside the core zone recently rezoned to R1-infill—which automatically allows duplex developments—but is also close to the rural-residential zone of Happy Valley.

Three members of the public—Jackie Drysdale, John Dougall, and Renate Fleming—spoke at the public hearing to oppose the rezoning based on traffic issues they were concerned might arise with the higher density despite four new off street parking lots in the plan.

Drysdale noted the “narrow alley” that is the main access to the area, and “tricky driving conditions.” With additional traffic, she was concerned it might lead to situations where she and others can’t get in or out.

Fleming noted her concern that a duplex in her neighbourhood had complicated traffic with insufficient parking and she thought Rossland might be “overdoing it” with infill. In the name of sustainability, she said, “in a lot of communities, the houses are getting smaller while lots are getting bigger.”

Dougall was concerned by the same issues, but also by a potential “runoff problem” the development could create, possibly impacting his basement. He thought issues such as snow storage and emergency vehicle access could be compromised.

Fairweather spoke to the demand for duplexes in a market saturated by single family homes. “Numerous individuals have asked for more of this product to be built around town,” he said, “I’m confident these units will sell.”

He also spoke about benefits to the local economy. “I like to manufacture a product that’s right here in our community using local trades, apprentices.”

Fairweather said the buildings were small, on the order of 1000 square feet, and would retain some green space. He said they would not impact groundwater.

During council’s discussion of the bylaw, Mayor Greg Granstrom summarized the concerns as “snow removal, parking, water runoff, lack of green space, and emergency access.”

Coun. Kathy Moore was strongly supportive of the rezoning, citing job creation and “pent-up demand” for diverse housing stock. Regarding the neighbour’s concerns, Moore said, “Staff have thoroughly addressed concerns in their report.

Coun. Tim Thatcher said, “I think it’s a good lot for making a duplex. My biggest concern is that alley is not good access at all, especially during the winter time.”

Coun. Jody Blomme and Coun. Kathy Wallace also pressed for more details.

Granstrom noted that “public works did not have an objection” based on issues of snow removal or emergency access, and that staff had addressed issues of parking and water runoff.

Coun. Cary Fisher dismissed concerns about congestion.

“I’m not making light of anything said in public hearing,” he began. “Yes, we have steep roads, ice, all these things, but that’s endemic to every street in Rossland.  Even with a doubling of our population, we don’t have big concerns. We have slide fender benders. We don’t see Surrey type accidents with people going 150 down the road and plowing into somebody.”

Council—absent Coun. Jill Spearn—voted unanimously to adopt the rezoning.

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