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Zoning Board Meeting September 7

Variance applications for McLeod deferred
Patricia Jones who covers Zoning

The Board last night declined to hear the application for a variance in relation to the Mc Leod plantation. It thought that it was premature for the City to be asking for variances before the actual School overlay plan had been approved by council. One of the Board members thought it might be worthwhile to discuss the issue to provide some guidance to the City but this was rejected by the other members.

There were a large number of Friends of McLeod present at the meeting who came to voice their opposition to the sale of McLeod to the School of Building Arts. Their disappointment at not being heard was probably offset by the joy at seeing the City embarrassed by the action of the Board. And as the Chairman also, and probably rightly, pointed out, the Zoning Board's role is to grant or deny variances and exceptions, not to determine issues such as the rights and wrongs of the acquisition.

Is 1900 sq. ft. of living space a hardship?
It was a decision that does not impact the community in any large way. But it was an indication of the frustration that many have with the Board and it seeming liberal policy of granting variances and exceptions. There was an application before the Board for variances to allow construction of a residence at 5 Zig Zag Alley on the Peninsula. Applications had been made a number of times over the last year or so and each time, the application was opposed by residents of surrounding houses. The house that was originally proposed amounted to over 2500 sq ft. But on advice from the Board, subsequent applications were for a smaller house and closer to meeting the ordinance requirements.

Last night the applicant was asking permission for variances to build a 2250 sq ft house. This was still opposed by residents and the Preservation Society. As the Attorney for the residents noted, the ordinance would require that a house with a maximum area of about 1900 sq ft be constructed. In this way, there would be no need for a request for variances and no opposition from residents. So why doesn't the Board uphold the law?

The lot was not zoned to allow for a 2250 sq ft house and if the owner wanted a house of this size, why not go and buy a larger lot? And, there are a lot of houses that are 1900 sq ft or less on the Peninsula.

There was some discussion and one comment from a Board Member that stood out was that a 2250 sq ft house was not much larger than 1900 sq ft so it didn't make much difference.

We think it does, and would side with Mr Rosen, the only board member that opposed the variances that were requested.

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