A pair of two-unit homes are a source of consternation for John Street area residents in Glencoe.
Despite multiple letters and oral submissions all against the proposed homes on the edge of town, Southwest Middlesex council approved both in split 4-3 votes.
The vote for the rezoning to allow a top-bottom split home was opposed by councillors Cowell, Vink and Sholdice. The side-by-side home rezoning was opposed by McGill, Vink and Sholdice. Residents can still appeal.
Proponent Timothy Zavitz said these types of homes were in high demand from seniors. They each can only have one owner, with one or both units in each being rented. One is set to be 3,154 sq. ft., the other about 2,800 sq. ft..
John Street resident Charlie Milhomens spoke on the issues brought up in many letters. The main argument was people who bought homes in the area believed the zoning would not change from only allowing single-family homes. Municipal planner Stephanie Poirier said the rezoning still conforms to the Official Community Plan.
“Regardless of today’s outcome I have a new understanding of how simple it is for someone else to change your entire lifestyle and future you have planned,” Milhomens told council.
Deputy Mayor Marigay Wilkins asked CAO Jill Bellchamber-Glazier if Zavitz’s recent Anne Street multi-family home received complaints since it was built, noting it was also opposed by people in the neighbourhood. The CAO said she was not aware of any.
“Nor has the mayor received any,” said Mayor Allan Mayhew.
Milhomens, who said he is not against multi-family homes in other areas of town, responded that Anne Street cannot be used as a comparison because these could be used as precedence for the other empty lots on John Street.
“To bring this area that I would call stagnant in development – we have gone on almost three decades talking about John Street and seeing no development. And this community improvement plan is under legislation and there is a process, and we’re merely following the process as it is laid out,” added Mayor Mayhew.
“And as much as the planner says she does not know what will happen, because we are going against our own planner ... usually a higher body makes us do what we should have done in the first place. And when I say should I mean follow the recommendations that we’ve received from our planners that are in line with our own planning reports. Even if we voted today not to support Mr. Zavitz, it’s likely he would take this to the tribunal and the whole process would be further delayed as a result of the bureaucracy that does exist,” explained Coun. Christa Cowell to a frustrated Milhomens.
“That is part of the monster that is bureaucracy, unfortunately.”
Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner