It was a spirited gallery at Monday’s Regular Council Meeting, with residents of Alpenglow Court surprised to see that a variance, which was denied at a previouscouncil meeting, was brought to Council for a second vote.
Mayor Don McCormick explained that the reason for bringing the variance back to the table was that Councillor Sandra Roberts was not present at the last council meeting, meaning there was not a full contingent, resulting in a tie vote. Despite the second vote, the outcome remains the same with the variance being denied. Councillors Sandra Roberts, Bev Middlebrook, Albert Hoglund, and Kent Goodwin voted against the motion.
Kimberley resident Craig Janzen’s request was for a variance to allow for the subdivision of the existing infill lot that he owns on Alpenglow Court, into three separate lots, two of which would have been under the minimum lot size required within the R-2 (single and two-family) zone. Janzen’s request indicated that if the variance were to be approved, he planned to build three single-family homes, one on each lot.
Even though the variance was denied, Janzen still has options. As Manager of Planning Services Troy Pollock explained, under the current zoning Janzen is able to build a single family home, a single family home with an accessory dwelling (such as a carriage home), and he is also able to subdivide the lot into two lots (so long as they meet the size requirements), and build two separate duplex units. None of those options would require a variance.
Many homeowners on Alpenglow Court were not in favour of the original variance request for several reasons, stating that three homes is “just too many”, and there were concerns about the potential aesthetic of the buildings as well.
Councillor Hoglund said he would not vote in favour of the variance because “100 per cent of the home owners” on Alpenglow were not in favour of it.
“Either you listen to the people, or not,” he said. “The subdivision is against having three lots and if we don’t listen to them, what are we doing here?”
Councillor Roberts says she spoke with the residents of Alpenglow and after hearing from them, it was clear they did not want to see that lot divided into three. She voted against the motion, adding that the developer “still has many options”.
Councillor Goodwin agreed, stating that it is rare to have the amount of opposition they have had from neighbouring homeowners.
“The people that live there don’t want it to go ahead,” he said.
“[We want] peace and harmony among neighbours, animosity is not healthy,” said Councillor Middlebrook. “It’s important that majority rules.”
Councillor Nigel Kitto says he is “disappointed in the process”, and that the new Official Community Plan calls for mixed density living and use of infill lots.
“We need diversity of accommodations, which is in line with the OCP,” he said.
“It could be a nice development,” echoed Councillor Darryl Oakley. “It’s too bad, because some visuals of what the homes would look like would really help. It’s a beautiful spot and it will still be beautiful no matter what happens there.”
Mayor McCormick ended the discussion by stating there are approximately 250 infill lots in the City that need to be built upon. He says the City encourages developers to build on these lots, and it is in line with the Planning Department’s strategies.
“The lot has been sold and a development is going to happen [regardless],” he said. “The proponent will have to move on to plan b.”