Honour House gets rezoning

Honour House has received a change to its zoning from New Westminster city council despite concerns raised by next door neighbours.

The rezoning changes the property at 509 St. George St. from single detached home to comprehensive development, to make the existing legally non-conforming use of the site conform.

Honour House, opened last year, provides a place for military, veterans and first responders and their families to stay while receiving medical treatment in the area. It was previously used as an adult mental health facility.

A report to council said the change will remove the restrictions placed on the operations for its lawful non-conforming status and allow alterations without the need for the Honour House Society to be required to request grandfathered status every time.

Neighbours Agnes Cerajeski and Paul Kostrzycki, who live at 513 St. George, wrote to council saying they have supported Honour House despite all the intrusions and noise the renovations and construction have caused over the last three years, but “strongly opposed” the rezoning. They complained it wasn’t right for the society to re-construct the facility first and then apply for the rezoning.

“We believe that this will set a dangerous precedent on a predominantly single-family street, in a predominantly single-family neighbourhood that will open doors for other developments to follow this route,” wrote the couple in an email. “We worry that in the future, if this facility is no longer operational, or has been decommissioned, or has no further funding, this will leave the door open for future owners to propose projects of the non-single family nature proceeding on this, or other quiet residential streets. We think that is a no-go in the Queen’s Park neighbourhood, and worry that its edges are being eroded.”

Despite the letter, no one appeared before council at Monday’s public hearing on the rezoning.

“I don’t see that happening,” said Coun. Jonathan Coté of the couple’s concerns.

Council also agreed to waive the rezoning application fees and the building permit fees that went with converting a detached building on the property into a lounge for Honour House staff.

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