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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  News Belmont Residents Stuck With 19 Foot Setback


by Doug Harvey

Planning Application for Monday, April 24, 2017

Committee of Adjustment

1. COA 04-17 & COA 07-17 - (deferred from March 20) - follow-up report

Fiona Roberts commented on how all affected residents were still upset with the applications reducing the rear yard setback requirement. And that after speaking to residents, that a 2-story with a reduced footprint would be a better solution than a single-story with a 19 foot setback. Mayor Marr commented "That you can't please them all." And after an extensive discussion on the footprint of a 2-story versus a single-story, setbacks, and what would be appropriate for these lots, a vote was taken and the Requested Variance was Granted.

Background: Earlier this year, Craigholme Estates Limited filed applications for five minor variance applications concurrently, two of the applications are for the purpose of reducing the rear yard setback requirement for 156 Wintermute Court and 146 Finch Court (COA04/17 & COA07/17), and the other three applications were for the purpose of reducing the exterior side yard setback requirement for 270 Snyders Avenue, 136 Finch Court and 137 Finch Court (COA05/17, COA06/17 & COA08/17).

No concerns were raised with respect to the three applications proposing a reduction in the exterior side yard setback. There were concerns and objections raised with respect to the two applications requesting a reduction in the rear yard setback. Those concerns may be summarized as follows:

  • Negative impacts to property values. Some of the neighbours believe that permitting the reduced rear yard will allow development to encroach closer to their properties and this will have a negative impact on the value of their properties. A couple of neighbours expressed their position that they purchased "premium lots" and that by allowing the variance their lots will no longer be "premium".
  • Encroachment on property and loss of privacy. Some neighbours expressed concerns regarding the proximity of the proposed development to their rear yards and associated impacts to privacy.
  • A "saturation" of variance requests suggests poor planning, and the lots in question were "Shoehorned In". It was also questioned how the lots were approved as the neighbours don't recall being notified.

Staff Comment: Claims of impact to property value is an opinion that is not supported by any objective analysis from a qualified person. This opinion has no real basis in land use planning. Property values appreciate and depreciate over the years for a various array of reasons. In this particular case, the proposed development is single detached residential homes much in keeping with the style and scale of similar development within the overall subdivision.

With respect to concerns regarding loss of privacy, the neighbours backing onto these lots have enjoyed a number of years of no development behind them, so any development will change their view and what they perceive to be their enjoyment of their rear yard as It currently exists. The developer has responded that they are planning single storey homes for the lots to question and would not object to a condition that requires any new home to be one storey. This would have less of an Impact than a two storey home overlooking the rear yards.

With respect to poor planning of the lots and no notice, staff have reviewed the background to the subdivision and can report that the subject lands are part of Phase 4 of the Craigholme Estates Development Area. This phase was applied for In March of 2001( File No. 34T-01002) and the public meeting was held by Council on November 190 of that year at the request of the approval authority( at that time the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing). Aerial photography from 2000 shows that the lots on Jonathan Way were not as yet developed and it is unknown as to exactly when the current residents moved in relative to the time of the public meeting and notice thereof. Further, notice at that time did not Include direct notification of neighbours within proximity of the subject lands, but was rather through a newspaper with circulation in the general area. Also, the layout of Wintermute Court and Finch Court are pretty much identical to those of Plymouth Court and Anita Court from an earlier phase to the south, so there is no validity to the claim that lots are being" shoehorned in". The cul- de-sacs are in keeping with the designs already established and approved within the development area.

Staff have also undertaken a survey of rear yard standards within various zones with the Municipality. They range from minimums of 6 metres to 9 metres. In fact, the standard for the regular R1 zone in the Township of Yarmouth By-law 1998 Is 6 metres. The new Sunset Bluffs subdivision is 7 metres and the standard in the new Lynhurst subdivisions and in the Erie Height development area is 9 metres. The Belmont by-law Is the only regulation with a rear yard requirement as large as 10. 5 metres. The actual separation distance between the proposed houses and existing development on Jonathan Way will be In excess of 16.5 metres, very close to the separation distance between homes in subdivisions with a 9 metre rear yard requirement( 18 metres).

A comment was made during the public meetings regarding rear decks and how they would be able to encroach. The attached sketches Illustrate the maximum extent to which an unenclosed deck would be allowed to encroach into the rear yard area. The building footprints shown are the footprints for the proposed houses as provided by the applicant's surveyor, and are located to Illustrate how the buildings would be situated on the lots if the variances are granted.

After reviewing and considering the matters raised by the neighbours at the public meeting, staff do not feel a need to alter the recommendations of the original planning reports. The requested variances result from houses of a larger footprint than previously considered, In response to current market demand, being proposed for these lots. The lots meet the minimum lot depth and area requirements of the by-law and the houses can be built in accordance with all other standards of the applicable zone. The proposed development is of a compatible density and style to the balance of development in the neighbourhood. Applications COA04/17 8 COA07/17 are still considered by staff to be in keeping with the four tests under the Planning Act and represent good planning. It is recommended that if the Committee decides to support the applications, a condition be imposed to restrict the height of the new dwellings to 1 storey, as agreed to by the applicant.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2017 14:59:39 PM EST

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