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Variance request meets with opposition

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A request for a variance met with opposition during Dauphin city council’s regular meeting, June 8.
Dauphin Church of Christ applied to vary the minimum front yard setback of 24.6 feet for an institutional zone accessory use building to 6.5 feet to allow for the construction of six fourplex dwelling units on its Parkland Crossing property at 220 Whitmore Ave.
The plan calls for the construction of two fourplexes measuring 30 feet by 84 feet consisting of one-bedroom units on a single story and four fourplexes measuring 40 feet by 80 feet consisting of two-bedroom units on a single story.
“The reason why we are asking for the variance for the buildings that we want to build there is to provide green space in the middle of the units that we want to build so that any of the parents, or may have single parents with kids, that the kids can play in the green space,” community minister Wayne Olson said in support of the application.
“We can build in that zoning of 7.5 meters, but it reduces the green space from in front of the units to way down by the road And we do not want the kids or children playing out close to the road. We think that would be not as safe as having that little green space between the buildings and in front of the buildings so that there is more green space for them to play.”
Council received one letter in opposition to the plan from area residents Alvin and Judy Bogoslowski, as well as a petition with 19 signatures representing 12 properties in the neighbourhood.
One resident, Val Rizok, voiced her objection directly to councillors.
Indicating she does not seek or like conflict, Rizok indicated she has lived in the neighbourhood for 40 years and has seen and accepted many changes in the area, but felt the need to speak against this project.
Reading from the petition, Rizok said even though proposed units are to be built in an institutional zone, they are in fact residential dwellings. The bylaw that other residential dwellings adhere to should be followed, she said, and not doing so would set a bad precedent.
“For other large institutions to apply for frontal variances to be reduced,” she said, adding a 6.5 foot setback would change neighbourhood livability.
“The change would not only be visually unappealing but could provide problems by cramping snow removal, increasing refuse and dirt on the street and may hinder traffic visibility and cause parking issues.”
The size of the variation is also a concern for Rizok,
“It’s not just a few inches, 18 feet is fairly substantial. I think many of us might have enjoyed adding 18 feet to our backyard when we were adding garages, but we followed the zoning bylaws. And bylaws are put in place to protect neighborhoods,” she said.
Councillors reserved their decision to a later date.
“Council will deliberate and will carefully consider the application and the process and the responses, and we will be advising the applicant of the decision,” deputy-mayor Kerri Riehl said.
“Council’s decision will be final and is not subject to an appeal.”