Thanks to the approximately two dozen residents who attended a meeting June 12 with Mattwood Homes to review a proposal to sever 508 Hager into three lots, save an existing home and build two more on either side.
The consensus of residents was that a home on either side of the existing home would be too crowded, and result in too much house on too small a lot. They recommended either renovating the existing home or demolishing it and creating one large home, or two new lots. Both of these options would conform to existing zoning.
The three-home proposal would require a rezoning for front and side yard setbacks, lot size and lot coverage. The existing zoning requires 15m (50ft) lot width; the proposed three lots would be 9.5m (31ft), 13.7m (45ft) and 8.4m (28ft).
The existing zoning limits lot coverage to 25% (the amount of space a building can occupy on a lot). The proposed lot coverage for the two new homes would be 38% and 32%.
Residents also expressed concern about the precedent-setting nature of rezoning applications. Each time a rezoning is permitted, others who want similar provisions can point to that approval, and over time this chips away at the zoning and can fundamentally alter the character of the neighbourhood. Residents encouraged Mattwood to develop a plan that respected existing zoning.
Finally, questions were raised about the difference between a minor variance – which also addresses matters such as lot width, coverage and setbacks – and a rezoning, a more serious undertaking. How is the determination made that a proposal requires a rezoning versus simply a minor variance application? I have asked planning staff to provide a reply, and will circulate that when I get it.
My thanks to Joe and Lou Mattiacci, and their planner Ed Fothergill, for agreeing to meet with residents and listen to their input before filing any planning applications. In light of last night’s meeting they will be reviewing their options – proceed with the existing plan or a modified version of it; demolish the existing home and create two lots; or renovate/replace the existing single family home on the lot.
If and when a formal planning application is filed, I will notify residents.
I share the concerns that the proposed two new lots would be small and the proposed homes too large for these lots in terms of lot coverage and reduced setbacks. I’m also concerned about the impact of each rezoning application on the long-term character of the neighbourhood. I have less concern about minor variance applications because the changes requested are, by definition, minor in nature.
That said, I appreciate the time and care the Mattiaccis have taken to attempt to design a product that would fit into the neighbourhood.
I also appreciate their efforts to preserve the existing 100 year old home, a fine red brick structure which is part of the built heritage and character of St. Luke’s Precinct that the Official Plan aims to protect. Losing the home altogether I believe would be a loss for the community. Renovating and possibly expanding the existing home would be ideal. Shifting the existing home to create two lots that fit the zoning, and building a second home would also be ideal, if financially viable.
A last option, though not my preferred, would be to demolish the existing home and create two new building lots.
What is your view of the proposed severance? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.