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HomeNewsNelson laneway house conversion allowed to proceed

Nelson laneway house conversion allowed to proceed

The conversion of an existing house on McQuarrie Avenue into a laneway house to permit a duplex build will be going ahead after all.

After it was denied last month, Mayor John Dooley brought back the plan for reconsideration under procedural privilege during last night’s council meeting.

During last month’s decision, he said he allowed council to get distracted.

“I don’t think I did a very good job of handling that meeting and I allowed the conversation to get focused in on some of the elements of the site, the building itself, the siding as an example, the deck and so forth,” Dooley said.

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Council heard that contrary to a report last month, the property owner wouldn’t be able to subdivide the property to build the duplex. Staff say they also sought feedback from the neighbourhood again.

Under the revised plan, the owner will have to put up a 6-foot opaque railing and frost some of the windows in the existing home to deal with privacy issues and then would be allowed to build the duplex, once they get a building permit.

The final vote was 4-3 with the mayor breaking the tie vote of council.

Councillor Cal Renwick couldn’t support it saying the city is not living up to its goal of providing safe neighbourhoods.

“There’s people in that neighbourhood that came forward with very good concerns I think about several things. One of them is safety. I understand the police have been called,” Renwick said.

Renwick seemed very upset the owner had been allowed to revise their plan and was given another month to make their case instead of putting their best plan forward in the first place.

He believes the city is jamming more parking on McQuarrie Avenue, that’s “much like a blood sport up there I think, it’s awful.”

Coun. Keith Page said the original issue was the size of the house that making the decision could potentially open up the city to setting a precedent on allowing people to convert existing homes that don’t meet the definition of a laneway house, into laneway homes.

But Coun. Rik Logtenberg felt the changes addressed all of the concerns of council. “Although I can understand the concerns of the residents, for sure, if I was them I would be concerned as well of the impacts of the neighbourhood. Having said that, I think you have also addressed that this very well fits within our planning documents,” Logtenberg told staff.

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