A Cumberland home that was once a schoolhouse in another community is up for a variance to allow for expansion. Photo, Google Maps

Cumberland house with a history up for variance

Building once served a different role in a different community

A house with a history as a different kind of structure was the subject of a variance request with the Village of Cumberland.

At the Feb. 10 general meeting, council voted to refer the variance request to its advisory planning commission.

The applicant for 4708 Cumberland Rd. had asked the Village for a variance to rear lot lines in order to construct an addition to the single-family, three-bedroom home. The proposed two-storey addition is to allow space for extended family members. During discussion, Coun. Gwyn Sproule touched on the past of the house in question – it was once a schoolhouse, though not in Cumberland.

“It’s the old schoolhouse from Comox. It’s historic but not from here,” she said.

The house was moved to the site in 1998 and placed closed to the rear lot line. The variance would permit the building to be 2.6 metres from the rear line. The zoning bylaw calls for a minimum of 4.5 metres.

As to the request, council had in mind issues more immediate than the building history. Sproule and Coun. Jesse Ketler raised questions concerning feedback from neighbours, mapping, tree removal from the site and whether the house would serve as a rental property.

Sproule also asked why, if people know what the bylaw requires, they do not build to code in the first place.

“We don’t have to grant variances,” she said. “I can understand if people have done it by mistake.”

READ MORE: Cumberland rejects parking variance for proposed building

There was some confusion as to whether the request would add five bedrooms or bring the total to five from the current three. Manager of development services Ken Rogers told council that staff will clarify this for a future report.


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