Two-storey garage suites too large, will have cancerous effect on neighbourhood

A small group of residents attended the town council meeting on Mar. 25 and voiced concerns about “garage suites”

What’s wrong with this picture? Residents say the two-storey garage suite (in the centre of the picture)

What’s wrong with this picture? Residents say the two-storey garage suite (in the centre of the picture)

Dear Editor,

A small group of residents attended the town council meeting on Mar. 25 and voiced concerns about “garage suites” to Mayor Samson and town councillors; to date we have not received a reply. Rather than waiting for them, I felt it beneficial to openly address the readership of the Sylvan Lake News, explain the matter of contention and give opinions to possible solutions.

Could I issue a challenge to everyone reading this letter? The weather is warming up and the lake has not opened up yet. Take a walk or a drive to Ryders Ridge, Ramsay Link specifically and personally see what I am talking about. Everyone needs to know what garage suites are. (I have no issue with the main houses on the properties, only that the garage suites are too high in comparison to the rest of the area housing.)

Contrary to what Falcon Homes considers to be the latest in award-winning housing, they have a cancerous effect on the surrounding neighbourhood. Whether you agree or disagree, voice your opinion to Mayor Samson and councillors by telephone or email. Write a letter in the local paper, talk to Falcon and the other builders.

One of our declarations to town council was how the two garage suites were approved. Due to this being a building application from a list of 18 discretionary uses allowed, letters describing the application (garage suite) were sent to landowners within 50 metres. I personally know that there were four affected residents who expressed their concerns, objected to the application and returned it within the allowed time. I am not certain how the planning group or town communicated back to them.

One day when we receive a letter it probably will be something to the effect the process is a town hall meeting, would have to be held, etc., etc. When people object and still have to further back up their claim, is this not a form of bullying in order to get your own way? NO means NO.

There are eight lots including two bare lots surrounding #3 and #4 Ramsey Link. It is just my guess that each adjacent property will suffer a $50,000 loss in value due to the garage suite. This is the good news! The bad news is that due to the garage suite next door, the property becomes unsellable. Then residents are taking even more of a loss — if they are lucky to find a buyer.

The apparently value of each garage suite is $87,450. The question I ask is why should $175,000 in real estate cause the area to suffer $400,000 in property losses?

On the town website, Land Use Bylaw #155/2010 section 4.5.3 states “The development authority may approve an application for a development permit … if in the opinion of the Development Authority (a) the proposed development or subdivision would not: (II) materially interfere with or affect the use, enjoyment or value of neighbouring parcels of land; …”

In my opinion the best solution would be to rescind the garage suite permit to Falcon Homes and change it to a rear detached garage only, with roof height comparable to the area.

I want to be clear that I am not personally attacking the mayor or councillors on this issue; we all have made mistakes in life. I am supportive of Sylvan Lake and Ryders Ridge; it was and still can be the best subdivision in the province.

After approval of #3 and #4 Ramsey, there has been no new construction in the immediate area. I feel if the garage suites are not modified, this area will look like a subdivision in a community that has gone from “boom to bust”. This subdivision will remain incomplete, especially when newer subdivisions open up in the very near future. The problem is still repairable!

I admonish you, Mayor Samson and town councillors, please do not get defensive or protective over the decision to approve these garage suites. Please look at the whole picture and think this through carefully, make a decision that is in the best interests of the taxpaying residents of Sylvan Lake.

Let me be the first one to say that you have my permission to use my tax dollars to retrofit the garage suites and rid this town of these “white elephants”.

Robert Bordun,

Sylvan Lake