Proposal for row houses, garage suites in cottage area approved

Creation of nine residential units on three 25 foot lots in the cottage area was approved by town councillors

Creation of nine residential units on three 25 foot lots in the cottage area was approved by town councillors at their meeting Mar. 10 after receiving a favourable recommendation from the town’s Municipal Planning Commission at its meeting the previous week.

Marc Pritchard applied to construct three, three bedroom row houses on the lots located on 50A Avenue just west of 44th Street. Each of the units would also include a one bedroom basement suite as well as a detached garage in the rear with two bedroom garage suite above. The units would be two storeys in height and include a raised basement.

In her report, planner Kim Devlin said the building “has been designed following the Pattern Book and meets the general intent”.

Nine parking stalls are provided, two in each of the garages and three exterior stalls, satisfying the town’s requirements.

“Staff deems it (the application) to be consistent with the architectural character and vision for the Waterfront area,” she stated in her summary.

Staff initially recommended the garages on the east and west sides of the proposal be set one metre from the lot line, while the developer wanted to build right on the lot line. At the council meeting, Devlin said they reviewed other garage suites and were not requesting the one metre setback anymore.

Among conditions included in the proposal is that the lane access to the site be paved from 44th Street west to the westerly corner of the last lot.

Councillor Matt Prete stated the same concerns he had at the Municipal Planning Commission meeting — that the front door of the garage suites opens onto the laneway. He felt that’s going to create problems in the future and that the lane would have to be maintained the same as the front street.

“If a visitor comes over there’s no way for them to get from the street to the garage suite in the back lane. I’d like to see a side yard setback so people can access the garage suites from the front.”

The density of the project concerned Councillor Chris Lust. “I have problems with it being a livable environment. It seems like there’s a lot of building on that site even though we say it’s under what the maximum (site coverage) is. There’s no green space to speak of.”

Councillor Graham Parsons stated, “This is tied to the direction we want to go down there, these are places for garage suites, I have no problem with it.”

Agreeing was Councillor Jas Payne who said, “we want to create higher density population in that area to revitalize that area”.

Lust cautioned though, “we need to be really careful in those high density areas to make sure they’re livable. We need to look at the whole area and see how these developments interact with each other. I think we can be much more imaginative.”

Councillors approved the development with only Prete voting against the motion.

During the commission meeting the previous week, Jacqueline Ruhe said the Land Use Bylaw allows a secondary suite or garage suite but not both.

Devlin responded that the Pattern Book calls for higher density in the area. “In all other districts we would not permit a garage suite and secondary suite on the same property. In the Waterfront Direct Control the rules are a little more flexible.”

Statements of concern were received from several adjacent landowners. One wrote the proposed buildings, with approximately 9,000 square feet of living space, would be like an elephant beside their ‘Little Cottage’ directly west which is approximately 750 square feet.

“In regards to placement of the proposed building, we feel that the footprint of the building being 70 per cent of the land area and with two storeys in height is oversized for the existing neighbourhood. If you look at the cottages that line the street of 50A Avenue, many are original cottages and most are tiny in comparison to the proposed building,” the writers stated.

In another matter, councillors approved a work plan to review the Pattern Book over the next seven months.