No dialogue on issue
“Point of order, Mr. Mayor. The purpose of this meeting tonight is not to debate the issue,” he told more than a dozen people in attendance. “Based on the arguments presented tonight, we’ll take those and consider them in the future.” Fahey quickly snapped back. “If we don’t know the history, we can’t debate at any point.”
Doyle’s Lane is currently six metres across, with Fahey’s property on one side. It will be 12.2 metres across once the road and proposed development is completed, and Fahey fears it’ll be his land that will be expropriated for the road to get widened.
Might not be one development
Two other residents present at the meeting were Eileen Marshall and Debbie Reynolds.
Reynolds lives in Riverhead along the Conception Bay Highway. Her biggest concern is that once the reg- ulation is changed, it will impact developments all over town, not just for this individual developer.
“If land is not an acceptable size today, then why would it be OK tomorrow?” she asked. “The land didn’t grow overnight.”
Marshall, who also lives on Harvey Street, said land close to her home had initially been considered for an apartment complex, but development restrictions led to its rejection. Now, she feels this lot can get developed, which could potentially “box me in” with apartment complexes.
Barnes said all development applications could get approved or denied at the discretion of council, including ones that have been previously rejected.
More than an issue for some
Sean Ash, who owns property close to the Danny Cleary Drive development, could not attend the meeting, but did send a letter. The letter was not read during the meeting, but Ash also submitted a copy to The Compass (see page A4).
Ash is a district fire chief from the Markham district in Ontario, serving some 350,000 people. He has serious issues with fire safety on the proposed development if it goes ahead, because there is no minimum space requirements.
“I have worked 28 years as a professional fire fighter,” Ash explained. “I personally know the importance of having and enforcing (municipal) regulations to ensure the safety of residents, and their homes, and the lives of emergency service personal.”
“The public might be very interested in knowing that, as a result of a fire which occurred at the proposed development site a number of years ago, my property received thousands of dollars worth of fire damage. This occurred even when the bylaws for minimum clearances for the front and rear setbacks for properties were upheld by Council,” he said.
What happens next
Although the council did not confirm it, those in attendance were convinced the meeting was just a formality, required by the town to make amendments to the regulation.
One resident said after the meeting the decision had already been made, but the paperwork hadn’t been signed.
Department of Municipal Affairs spokesman Hugh Donnan told The Compass the amendment must be registered with the department “to ensure it doesn’t interfere with any provincial interests.”
The amendment had not been registered as of Thursday, Oct. 16, so Donnan could not comment on specifics.
He also said amendments of this type are routine throughout the province, with some 150 annually.
Council is expected to vote on the amendment at its next council meeting, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m.