Wednesday November 26, 2014

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Council approves contentious rezoning

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Estevan City Council has given the green light for a much-debated project to proceed.

Council narrowly approved second and third readings for a bylaw at their July 21 meeting. It will rezone a parcel of land at 1138 First Street from a single-family lot to a multi-family area. A four-plex will be constructed on the site.

Mayor Roy Ludwig, and Councillors Trevor Knibbs and Greg Hoffort, were in favour of the development. Councillors Dennis Moore and Brian Johnson voted against the project.

Councillors Kevin Smith and Lori Carr were absent from the meeting.

Johnson said Estevan's vacancy rate is now 5.5 per cent, and there are now units available for rent and houses for sale. So he doesn't see the need for the fourplex.

He noted there are also drainage concerns with the development.

"This is going to be a big property on a sloping land area," said Johnson.

Not only would the fourplex hurt residents in the area, but he believes the city as a whole would lose out.

Hoffort said he supported the project because council has approved other fourplex developments, and he wanted to be consistent.

"All had issues raised regarding traffic and parking, and issues similar to this one," said Hoffort.

The residents on First Street put forward tremendous concerns, he said. He also noted that two multi-family buildings are already located one block north of the site.

The affected residents had their chance to voice their concern about the project at a meeting last month; a few of them attended the meeting on the 21st as well. They're worried about the increase in traffic and the impact that it could have on pedestrian safety, especially since there is a playpark nearby.

They're also concerned with parking, the loss of privacy, the impact on property values and the potential loss of some trees. A petition was circulated in the neighbourhood, and several residents wrote letters to council.


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