Coldstream modular home debate still unresolved

Spraggs still waiting for an answer

  • Jan. 23, 2018 12:00 a.m.

Coldstream resident Lynn Spraggs may have to wait a little longer to learn whether or not he will be permitted to build a permanent modular home on his Kalavista Drive property.

The 76-year-old retired civil engineer was one of few in attendance at Monday night’s council meeting, where Mayor Jim Garlick and his colleagues were expected to decide whether or not to adopt a zoning bylaw that would allow Spraggs to build his home in the prominent Coldstream neighbourhood.

But after a lengthy debate, Council opted to give third reading to the proposed zoning bylaw and subsequent amendment, with the stipulation that a restrictive covenant respecting the “form and character of development” be put in place prior to the adoption of the bylaw. The vote was five to one, with Coun. Gyula Kiss in opposition.

Kiss previously revealed that his first home in Coldstream, which was built in the 1970s, would have been classified as modular, (rather than stick built) because it was partially assembled off site, and did not agree with some of the comments regarding the “lack of curb appeal” attributed to modular homes.

Coun. Richard Enns endorsed the option of including a covenant, while outlining several reasons for not wanting to adopt the bylaw without the restrictions — beginning with the process in which the issue was initially brought to the public’s attention.

“I think the big challenge is that we have people in the neighbourhood that are all of a sudden confronted with the possibility that something they did not expect to find in their neighbourhood is going to arise. So by going through a spot zoning process like this, what we’ve done is create an element of uncertainty for not only this neighbourhood but others as well,” he said.

“I think we did a poor job this time by the way we advertised it, and I think we need to look at our process for making these kind of changes so that in the future signage would be out in place.”

He said he felt people’s concerns were compounded by the public’s perception of what would be constructed on the property.

“The initial report contained a drawing of a modular home that I think raised concerns, and I think if we are going to put these kinds of spot zoning out in future we have to do a better job of getting firmer or better information so that the people who are assessing it, in this case, the people in the neighbourhood, can evaluate it.”

Enns continued that he felt some of the issues council is currently facing on this front could be rectified by updating their bylaw.

While he did not oppose the option of requiring a covenant, Coun. Pat Cochrane questioned whether or not his colleagues would feel the need to put it into place if the home Spraggs wanted to build was “stick built.”

Garlick said it wouldn’t be an issue because Spraggs wouldn’t have had to request the property be rezoned “in the first place.”

But Coun. Doug Dirk argued that rezoning, despite what was listed on their agenda, was no longer what was being discussed.

“Zoning refers to use — we’re talking about a way of building. Many of the concerns are about appearance…. and we’ve talked about it long enough. We’re going to have to deal with this so I think we need to move on.”

Coldstream’s current bylaw does not allow for modular homes to be constructed in a residential single family zone.

Spraggs approached council earlier this month with a request to build a modular ranch-style home to live in while his daughter moves into his current home on the neighbouring property, but received a chilly reception from some of his neighbours, who told council at a public hearing, and in a series of letters, they felt the home’s perceived lack of “curb appeal” could “erode” the value of the surrounding properties.

Spraggs said he did not wish to comment after Moday’s meeting. A decision is expected to be made once a suitable covenant is drafted and approved by council.

Erin Christie

Morning Star Staff

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