2nd home rejected
A property at the base of Knox Mountain is too steep to be built on, city council has decided.
Council on Monday refused the owner’s request to rezone the property at 405 Poplar Point Drive so a second home, of 5,000 square feet on three levels, could be built. The lot has an average slope of 40 per cent, with some grades exceeding 80 per cent.
The city does not generally allow development on slopes of more than 30 per cent, although there are exceptions.
Other concerns with this proposed development site included the stability of the property, the visual impact, stormwater runoff and the need to remove trees to accommodate the proposed second house.
“I do think staff are giving us appropriate cautions,” Coun. Luke Stack said. “I don’t think it’s impossible for houses to be built on steep slopes, (but) the risks are high and they are counter to our city policy.”
“I don’t think this is an appropriate place to build a home,” agreed Mayor Colin Basran.
Although the address of the lot is Poplar Point, the second home would have been accessed off Herbert Heights Road, where there are already 16 homes, many built years ago on similarly steep slopes.
Jordan Hettinga, representing the landowner, Frederick Hamel, told council he believed additional geotechnical site testing would prove the property could have been safely built on.
In other communities, slopes of 50 per cent are commonly built on with modern construction techniques, Hettinga said.
“We’re happy to show the site is capable of taking the house without any additional risk,” he said.
Some councillors did support advancing the home project through the approval process.
“The fact is, we are building on slopes greater than 30 per cent in other areas of the community,” Coun. Gail Given said. “if it’s risky here, it’s risky there.”