Graff opposes bylaw zoning amendment
It was a contentious afternoon council meeting Tuesday, Jan.23. Residents living close to the vacant almost-acre of land at 8 Rogers Road strenuously urged council, through correspondence and in person, not to amend the zoning of the lot from residential second density to residential fourth density with the addition of an ‘H’ (holding) provision.
Perth’s planning advisory committee (PAC) had recommended the zoning go through; Councillor Jim Graff voted against the bylaw amendment, with the final vote five for and only Graff against.
The town received an application from Stefano Ferrante to build a three-storey, 24-unit, rental apartment building. A voluntary open house was held to discuss the application in late November 2017; another public meeting was held in early December, at which concerns were expressed regarding traffic, loss of natural habitat, height and cladding of the building and possible blasting effects.
On Jan. 8 PAC received a supplemental planning report from the Director of Development and Protective Services Forbes Symon, focussing on those concerns. It was his opinion, after considering the apprehensions of the citizens and the policies of the town, that the proposed amendment represented an appropriate use of the property.
Councillor Graff was opposed for several reasons — one being increased traffic along Thom and John Streets. “It’s a quiet little subdivision [right now],” he says, but with the proposed building, along with the other buildings in the area, it could become troublesome for the neighbourhood. He added that the speed limit along the streets needs to be considered, as well.
He likes the ‘holding’ provision. To him that means “holding the developers feet to the fire” to make sure all provisions are considered and acted upon. For instance, as an example, that rain water is not running onto someone else’s property, or that garbage pick-up is done adequately.
Gaff explains he is not “completely against” the building but it needs more thought put into it. As does the whole planning process, he adds. “There’s a lot of ambiguity there.
“As we grow we should look at ways of making the town more attractive, more inviting. We should be more conscious of our direction and future. We want to make it attractive for people to move here, not just keep it at the status quo.
Judith Haines, Thom Street resident, is most concerned about placing the proposed building in an older established neighbourhood.
“Our brand is heritage and we need to live up to it. Twenty years from now what are we going to look like, what do we want to look like.”
She says Perth’s official town plan talks about keeping potential heritage character in areas of the town and that Carolina Village is one of those areas. The proposed building is “too big for the block. It doesn’t fit the character of the neighbourhood.”
She asks if the planning department is living up to the intent of the plan. and feels the “heritage character was never considered from the get-go. Is this an appropriate building for the neighbourhood? No.”
Councillor Ed McPherson voiced concerns as well but at the final vote, voted for the amendment.