Jason and Anne-Marie Boulanger have applied to the City to add a one bedroom, one bathroom suite to the ground floor of their home at 1520 Thorpe Ave. They want to have the suite available for their mother when she is ready to move to the city from Black Creek. The couple expects the project won’t inconvenience neighbours because it’s only an interior layout change.
Heather Hallett, who lives two doors away, opposes the application. In a letter, she says increasing the population density will “destroy the character of the neighbourhood” and increase the demand for parking. Allowing one multi-family residence will open the floodgates to any number of such dwellings, she added.
As opposed to a flood of applications, manager of development planning Matt Fitzgerald expects a “slow trickle” of secondary suites would be realistic. He also expects little disruption to the neighbourhood’s character, considering the low number of suites in the area.
A Sitka Avenue resident who supports the application said Courtenay “needs to start building carriage homes.” A Griffin Drive resident also supports the application. Council approved second reading of the application, and waived the public hearing.
•Council gave second reading to a rezoning application from John and Linda Mohler to construct a 12-lot subdivision on their property at 4070 Fraser Rd. They plan to reside in an existing single family home.
“I think this is a wonderful idea and would be a logical extension of the Ridge,” a Chancellor Crescent resident states in a comment sheet from a January public meeting about the proposal.
Coun. David Frisch expressed concern about the impact of a subdivision on the outskirts of town, and how it could affect the transportation network.
A public hearing about the proposal will be held. Final reading will be withheld pending completion of a parkland disposal process.
•Council approved a Wendy Morin motion to explore options to expand permitted home occupations to include hairdressing, dog grooming, counselling, massage, acupuncture and other such businesses that do not create additional noise and parking challenges. The Comox Valley Home-Based Business Association had requested an amendment to zoning bylaws to allow a greater number of people to operate businesses at home.
Morin has received a great deal of support since she presented the idea at a previous meeting. While some feel the City will be taking away from the commercial tax base, she thinks the benefits of expanding outweigh the negatives.
“In terms of small businesses starting at home, this helps people to not lose their shirt, to not be in a position where they’re so financially harmed that they can’t even pay their residential property taxes,” Morin said.
Nuisance wood burning
•Council approved a motion from Melanie McCollum to have staff report about options for a bylaw to address nuisance wood burning, and to ensure responsible storage of wood and operation of wood-burning appliances.
She said the motion intends to provide staff and residents with a tool to raise concerns about problem houses. She notes most emails about the topic centre on problem neighbours.
“What it results in is one neighbour basically smoking everybody out,” she said. “We need some tools in place in order to address these problems.”