They like their neighbour just fine, but some Elmira residents aren’t too happy with what she has in mind for her property. The owner of 8 Meadowlark Rd. wants to divide the property into two pieces, essentially turning her backyard into another residential lot facing onto Tanager Street around the corner.
To do that, Dawna Martin will need a zone change and other exemptions. Her application to do just that led to a public planning meeting at Woolwich council Jan. 11, drawing out neighbours concerned about the impact of the changes she’s proposing.
Currently, the corner lot is 24.3 metres wide by 42.5m deep (79 by 139 feet). The severance would convert the back portion of the site to a building lot 19.2m wide by 24.3m deep. To construct a house on the lot – which would front on Tanager Street – it would have to be rezoned to medium density (R-3) from the current low-density (R-2) designation. As well, site-specific provisions are needed, as the new lot would be smaller than allowed under R-3, and the setbacks from the lot-line to the existing house would be closer than usually permitted, explained Dan Kennaley, the township’s director of engineering and planning.
Three neighbours who addressed councillors Tuesday night want no part of the plan.
Don Little at 2 Tanager St. argued Martin’s home was built as part of a single-family neighbourhood that should maintain that character.
For Terry Wilkinson, the immediate neighbour at 6 Meadowlark Rd., the rezoning would set a precedent for homeowners with similar lots, including several on his street. If this kind of rezoning is to be permitted, the decision should be made as part of an overall planning strategy, not on a piecemeal basis, he said.
If the plan goes ahead, Guenther Mohr at 1 Tanager St. would end up with a new neighbour wedged in to the left of his home on what is now Martin’s backyard. That, he said, would impinge on his privacy and cut the amount of light falling on his property. It would also create something of a dilemma with the street’s numbering system, as his house is currently No. 1 – changing the scheme would have a negative effect on everyone on that side of Tanager Street.
Although no decisions were made at the public meeting, Kennaley noted he expects more of these kind of applications to surface given provincial policies that call for greater densities in urban areas through the use of infilling projects.