By Craig Westcott
Bay Roberts councillors were happy to welcome a new business to town Tuesday, but were forced to say no to a number of residential building applications because they didn’t meet the development rules.
The first development application on the agenda at the regular public meeting was for two duplexes on Brook Road.
Chief Administrative Officer Nigel Black advised council to deny the permit.
Black noted the matter was discussed at council’s earlier committee-of the whole meeting, which was private. “So, all of council and staff were involved in that discussion and review,” he said. “At the end of that discussion the recommendation to this meeting was to deny the application, and secondly to advise the applicant, or the developer, that there would be a possibility of lessening the variances if they considered one duplex as opposed to two and that council would reconsider the application at that time.”
The problem with the application is that the buildings would be set too close to the road and would require variances to the eight-metre setback that would be more than council could normally approve.
However, councillor Silas Badcock wasn’t so sure it was a good idea to reject the application. He pointed out council had some time ago approved a building on a corner lot on that same street and the setback was six metres.
“I think we could make this work,” said Badcock.
Black explained the rules are different for corner lots because they front on two roads. The minimum setback on the front still has to be eight metres, but can be six metres on the other side.
Badcock wasn’t wholly convinced. “My perspective is a building is a building,” he said.
But Deputy Mayor Geoff Seymour pointed out that even applying the rules for a corner lot wouldn’t help in this particular case because of the size of the variance that would be required.
Put to a vote, the motion to deny the application carried with Badcock tendering the only nay.
The next application was in somewhat the opposition situation as the prior one, but still had to be rejected. In this case, the proponent applied to build a house at 641 Water Street, but in an area well back from the street – a good 600 or 700 feet by councillor Perry Bowering’s estimation – but with no Town road leading to it.
“That piece of property is in the Rural Zone, so it’s not a Residential Zoned Property, and is set back off of any Town roads, it has no frontage on any Town roads,” said Black, who noted this application too had been discussed at the committee of the whole meeting. “It’s accessed by a road of some sort, but it’s not a Town of Bay Roberts road, it’s not up to Town of Bay Roberts standards. So based on all that and based on the discussion we had at the committee of the whole meeting, the committee recommends that the application for approval in principle be denied. The committee further recommends that the property owner and potential seller be advised of the requirements to have frontage on a Town road in order to have approval in principle considered and that the legal status of their access would have to be clarified and brought up to a Town standard in order for development to be considered.”
There was no opposition to that recommendation.
“I’m just looking at the survey, it is a fairly long ways back from Water Street,” agreed Badcock.
But is the potential for development still there, Deputy Mayor Seymour wondered, if the applicant can show documentation for his access to the property?
“So, there is a right of way there, it’s just not up to standards?” Bowering asked.
Black said he didn’t know the legal status of the right of way, and in any case the applicant would have to bring the access up to the standards of a Town road.
Mayor Walter Yetman said at least now the applicant knows what needs to be done in order to develop the property.
With that, council voted unanimously to reject the application. Then it found itself dealing with an application similar to that one. This one involved a proposal to develop one residential lot on Front Road.
Black said the land there is also in a Rural zone and on a road that is not maintained by the Town. He recommended council “advise the property owners of the challenges of their proposal and the fact that no applications would be approved in the Rural zone where there is no frontage on a Town road.”
Councillor Ross Petten made a motion to do just that. It was seconded by Badcock.
“It’s pretty self-explanatory,” said Badcock. “It’s much like the last one, but a different location.”
Given the three rejections, council was happy to eventually meet an application that met the development rules, in this case for a new business.
Mayor Yetman said the permit was for a new commercial occupancy at 202 Conception Bay Highway for a business called Essence Essentials Salon Inc.
“That is a medical esthetics spa, and that’s great to have in our community,” he said.
The recommendation was that council approve the permit in principle, subject to it also meeting any requirements of Service NL and a fire safety inspection.
“What exactly is a medical esthetics spa, does anyone know off hand?” said Seymour in moving the motion to approve the business. “Just curious.”
Nobody seemed to know.
“It’s probably for things like hair removal or skin defects, possibly,” ventured Badcock.
“We welcome new business,” said Seymour.
“We welcome them and wish them all the best,” added Mayor Yetman, “and it sounds like a service that any community would need. We’re certainly glad to have them.”
The motion to approve the business passed unanimously.
The final application was to construct a building to house a new daycare at 17-19 Cleary’s Road.
Yetman explained because the location is zoned Residential II, which makes a daycare a discretionary decision of council, the Town will publish the application to invite public comment for two weeks before deciding on it.
“You can’t go wrong on an additional daycare,” said Seymour. “We have a lot of young families, and this will certainly take the burden off some people, so it’s a great thing.”
Yetman agreed and added the applicant already has a building next door at 21 – 23 Cleary’s Road.
Put to a vote, council agreed to advertise the application and to make a decision after the public has had a chance to comment on it.