MPC decision on development application was merited

Previous letter contained unwarranted criticism of MPC members and Town staff, and other misinformation.

Dear Editor,

I refer to the letter to the editor from Bryna Boisvert, published July 2. This article contains unwarranted criticism of Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) members and Town staff, and other misinformation, which needs addressing.

The letter contains the statement that “several bylaws were not adhered to”. In regard to all applicable requirements, the applicant met the requirements of the Land Use Bylaw. Nor was the proposal contrary to the intent of the R2 Medium Density Residential District, which is to provide an area for a variety of dwelling types and other uses which are compatible with a residential area. To be clear, the intent of the R2 district is to encourage a variety of housing types such as detached dwellings and duplexes (permitted uses) as well as apartments, row houses and fourplexes (discretionary uses).

The only point on which the proposal did not comply with the zoning regulations was in regard to parcel coverage. The proposal included coverage of 61 per cent whereas the maximum normally allowable in an R2 zone for a fourplex is 55 per cent. Therefore, the proposal included a request for the relaxation of the maximum parcel coverage accordingly. This was also stated on the consultation letter that was circulated. Policy 3.3.3 of the Town’s Land Use Bylaw states that “the MPC or Council may consider a relaxation of any standard as prescribed by this bylaw”.

The letter also accuses that “not one of the MPC members seemed to be knowledgeable on what the R2 zoning entails … they could not properly answer how garbage is removed from the fourplex building. The balconies are not in compliance … the decks were never noted by the development authority as being in the side yard”. I have the following response:

• That MPC members are not knowledgeable: This is a sweeping, exaggerated statement. MPC members are not expected to memorize every zone, the types of permitted and discretionary uses in each, and the vast array of other regulations contained in the Land Use Bylaw. The information presented in the report provides all necessary details for MPC members to make an informed decision. MPC members would never be expected to know how garbage is removed from a fourplex. This is the function of the Town’s Public Works department. Staff and MPC are only concerned with the point that screened garbage enclosures are provided with this development in accordance with the requirements of the zone.

• The balconies are not in compliance: There are no balconies proposed, only decks.

• The decks were never noted by the development authority as being in the side yard: This is not true. Paragraph (h) of the report states: “Each unit will provide a 2.44m x 3.05m deck projecting into the side yard maintaining a setback of 1.6m from the property line. Part 7.43.1(a) permits a maximum projection of 0.6m into the side yard setback of 1.5m which has been adhered to.”

Another concern expressed is parking and “the proposed fourplexes have eight parking stalls each and eight stalls in the drawing are tandem parking. Tandem parking is not allowed as the bylaw states”. The applicant does propose eight parking stalls — one stall included in the garage, and two of the stalls as tandem parking. Policy 7.38.32 of the Land Use Bylaw states that tandem parking shall not be permitted as a method for meeting the parking requirements for a secondary suite, and this application is for fourplex buildings.

Finally, the writer states that 11 letters of objection to the proposal “were completely unheard at this meeting”. This is incorrect. The staff report referenced 11 objectionable responses received, and the points raised by the objectors were summarized in a table. Furthermore, each of the written responses were attached to the public report.

The staff analysis of the proposal and corresponding MPC deliberation and decision was a fair one given the merits of the application.

Ken Kalirai

Director of Planning and Development

Town of Sylvan Lake