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Property rezoning draws opposition from neighbours at City of Powell River public hearing

Input into amendments for Garibaldi Place sought at meeting  
2704_public_hearing_John Hall
ZONING AMENDMENT: Garibaldi Place resident John Hall expressed concerns about a planned development on the street that would turn a one-acre property into eight single-family residences.

A zoning amendment bylaw for a property at 4304 Garibaldi Place recently drew opposition at a public hearing.

Held on November 4 in City of Powell River council chambers, the public hearing drew statements of concern from five people in attendance, and there were 10 pieces of correspondence that city councillors were provided expressing concerns about the zoning amendment. There was also one proponent in attendance.

Bylaw 2677, 2021 proposes to rezone the parcel of land from R2 (single- and two-family residential) to CD4 (comprehensive development residential small lots). According to a staff report, the subject property measures just over one acre in size and for many years housed a single-family dwelling sited near the centre of the property. Following change in ownership, the dwelling was demolished in July of this year, the report stated. A drawing in the package prepared by staff for councillors shows a proposal for eight CD4 lots at the Garibaldi Place site.

John Hall was the first to speak and said he was the longest resident of Garibaldi Place, having lived there for more than a quarter of a century.

“I’m hoping I can address some of the concerns of the residents of Garibaldi Place,” said Hall. “It’s an atypical residential street that is short and narrow and ends in a dead end with no turnaround,” said Hall. “No residents on the street ever park on the street and the reason is, if you park on the upside and somebody parks on the downside opposite, you can’t get past. Parking has always been an issue on our street and there’s only eight residents on the street.

“If four more homes go on that street, that’s a 50 per cent increase in density. The residents are concerned about parking and the increase in density.”

Hall said with the smaller CD4 lots that are proposed, there is concern the properties will not be able to accommodate two vehicles.

“All of the residents are opposed to changing it from R2 to CD4,” said Hall. He said residents suspected there would be redevelopment of the property, but thought there would be two houses on Garibaldi Place and two on Fernwood Avenue.

Sherry Sakamoto, another Garibaldi Place resident, who lives directly across the street from the property in question, said she was opposed to this rezoning application.

“I value the uniqueness of our street, which is a narrow and short dead-end road,” said Sakamoto. “The current R2 zoning allows plenty of space to keep both vehicles and recreational equipment, parked off the street and without being an eyesore or problem for other neighbours.”

She said the short, narrow road already creates problems for city garbage vehicles, which have to back down the street, and with the new mechanized garbage collection service, bins are placed on one side of the street so the truck can pick them up without needing to turn around.

Sakamoto said if CD4 rezoning is approved, these newly built smaller homes, with smaller driveways, will cause issues for the street.

“Granting higher density to eight small lots will impact the character of both our neighbourhood and street,” said Sakamoto. “I am not against development. Four to six homes with long driveways for cars, boats and RVs is an option that contributes to the flow and harmony on our street and is a good compromise. On paper, higher density may appear to make perfect sense, but in reality, adding four small lots on a non-through, spray-cap surfaced road, with nowhere to turn around, and limited street parking, does not make sense at all.”

Ratepayers president weighs in

The public hearing also heard from Ron Woznow, president of Westview Ratepayers Society, who said Hall and Sakamoto had laid out the basics about the street. He said those living on the street should not have to suffer a lot of negative impact.

“If council proceeds with this, there are significant opportunities for the planning department and the engineering department to put in place requirements that would significantly offset the negative impact on the community,” said Woznow.

Neighbours Alan Barker and Nancy Bennett expressed preferences that the property remain zoned R2.

Jim Agius spoke in favour of the development, indicating that he is a partner in it.

“We thought about our proposal quite a bit here in regards to the CD4 zoning,” said Agius. “It is a relatively new zoning. We have this insightful [city] planning department, which looks towards the future. We enjoy working with them.

“If we didn’t rezone, it’s very simple for us, without any public consultation, without any input from planning, without any input from city council, to just put in four duplex lots and build four duplexes [eight homes]. There would be four on Garibaldi and four on Fernwood. The zoning is already there. The R2 zoning allows duplexes.”

Agius said because of the nature of the development, they are all single-family homes, and the thought was eight single-family homes would fit into the neighbourhood better than four duplexes.

“If we do not have the zoning, we’ll stick with R2 and just build what we decide to build without any input from planning or city council,” said Agius.

After the public hearing, the matter will go back to city council for third reading.

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