Not rec­om­mended

Summerside com­mit­tee with­holds bless­ing for water­front prop­erty re­zon­ing

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY COLIN MA­CLEAN Colin.Ma­cLean@Jour­nal­Pi­ @Jour­nalPMacLean JOUR­NAL PIONEER

A re­quest to re­zone a va­cant prop­erty on Wa­ter Street in Summerside will move ahead to city coun­cil – but not with the bless­ing of the tech­ni­cal ser­vices com­mit­tee.

The com­mit­tee met Mon­day to dis­cuss the re­quest and to hear staff’s re­port on the pro­posal.

The prop­erty in ques­tion, 565 Wa­ter St., has been an empty lot for decades. It’s owned by the Summerside Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (SRDC), which has re­quested that it be re­zoned from R3 to R4. Both zon­ings al­low for multi-unit hous­ing, which is what has been pro­posed for the site, but R4 al­lows for higher den­sity of units.

City staff rec­om­mended the re­quest be ap­proved.

The com­mit­tee, which con­sists of coun­cil­lors Bruce MacDougall, Gordie Whit­lock and Brent Gal­lant, di­gressed from that rec­om­men­da­tion and voted 2-1 to move the re­quest on to the full coun­cil but with­out rec­om­mend­ing that it be adopted.

Coun­cil has the fi­nal say on the mat­ter and will be dis­cussing the re­zon­ing at its Au­gust meet­ing.

Whit­lock and Gal­lant both ex­pressed re­luc­tance to al­low the re­zon­ing, though Gal­lant ad­mit­ted to be­ing torn on the sub­ject. MacDougall didn’t ex­press an opin­ion.

Whit­lock’s main con­cern was for sur­round­ing prop­erty own­ers, most of whom are sin­gle fam­ily res­i­den­tial units.

Those peo­ple, he ar­gued, bought their homes with a cer­tain ex­pec­ta­tion of what the neigh­bour­hood would look like, and he does not like the idea of chang­ing that.

“I don’t think it’s fair that res­i­dents of the city should have to be con­cerned that when they buy their home, … that coun­cil is some­time go­ing to re­zone the prop­erty next door,” he said.

Gal­lant was less rigid in his op­po­si­tion, stat­ing that while he shared some of Whit­lock’s con­cerns, he was also in­ter­ested in see­ing the prop­erty de­vel­oped to its po­ten­tial.

“The prop­erty was go­ing to be de­vel­oped in any case – it’s just what would be there and what would be the best use of that prop­erty,” said Gal­lant.

SRDC has been in con­tact with a po­ten­tial buyer who is in­ter­ested in build­ing an apart­ment com­plex on the prop­erty. How­ever, no firm com­mit­ment has been made, as the pro­po­nent is wait­ing to see how this re­zon­ing re­quest plays out.

SRDC has said in the past re­zon­ing the prop­erty, which is prime water­front land, into a higher den­sity zon­ing would be pru­dent re­gard­less of whether this deal moves ahead.

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