Neighbours say no to multi-unit building on Cherry Lane
By Craig Westcott/September 9, 2022
Opposition to a proposed 4-unit apartment building on Cherry Lane appears to be increasing with residents in the area presenting a petition Tuesday to CBS council against the idea.
Councillor-at-Large Rex Hillier, who chairs the Town’s planning and development committee, presented the petition on behalf of the residents. It was accepted by Mayor Darrin Bent without comment. The rezoning application is expected to be discussed at the next public meeting of council, set for September 20.
In presenting the petition, Hillier noted it indicates the residents’ opposition to rezoning 22-24 Cherry Lane to allow the development, which isn’t permitted under the current Residential Low Density zoning.
“It’s signed, I’m told, by approximately 150 people representing all of Cherry Lane and all the streets off Cherry Lane,” Hillier noted, as he brought the document forward. “So, I’ll pass this along to staff and have it read into the record.”
In an interview after the meeting, Hillier said he wasn’t surprised by the degree of opposition to the development, and conceded the residents probably asked him to present it to council because he was the only councillor to voice opposition to the rezoning when it came before council two weeks ago. At that time, several councillors welcomed the application, arguing there is a need for more multi-unit and affordable housing options throughout CBS.
Hillier said the Town has received close to 30 individual submissions against the proposed rezoning since council put the matter out for public comment. He allowed those opinions will have some sway with council.
“I think absolutely (it will),” said the councillor. “You’ve got that many people saying, ‘We really don’t want this,’ and that is what we asked, for people to let us know how they feel about that development.”
Hillier said he didn’t oppose the rezoning because he suspected the development would be unpopular. “I voted against it because of the whole issue of the integrity of our Town Plan,” he said. “There are some reasons why we rezone properties… and there are some reasons why I don’t think we should be rezoning. And this is one of them.”
Hillier said the matter will come before the planning committee again at its next meeting where a recommendation will be generated for presentation to council. At-Large councillors Paul Connors and Joshua Barrett are the two other members of the committee, along with some senior staff. Council will then have to decide whether to allow the rezoning application to proceed, which would entail the appointment of a commissioner and a public hearing before finally coming back for a final vote. That process typically costs the proponent several thousand dollars.
Hillier said this particular application, which proposes to convert a former school and office building into attached duplexes with two apartments each, is different than the other proposed rezoning on Cherry Lane, which involves a piece of land that would otherwise be inaccessible for development as a single building lot.
“So therefore we (council) agreed, let’s look at rezoning it to put a single-family dwelling in there and nothing will look any different than the rest of Cherry Lane,” Hillier explained. “In this case (at 22-24 Cherry Lane) we have a property where you could (also) put a single-family dwelling there on a low density lot the same as the rest of Cherry Lane.”
The first rezoning application, for 73-75 Cherry Lane, meanwhile, has not been officially approved by council. Hillier said there are still some matters that have to be straightened out before the Town goes any further with it. The commission’s report on that application has been received, but not yet made public.