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Councillors agree the mostly single-dwelling homes won’t have a negative impact on neighbouring property values
Some residents complained, but St. John’s city councilors agreed that adding townhouses in a neighbourhood doesn’t decrease property values or increase crime rates.
“I’m not seeing any evidence that townhouses have an impact on property values,” Ward 4 Coun. Ian Froude said during Monday’s virtual St. John’s city council meeting.
“We need a mixture of housing styles and sizes so that people can live affordably throughout the entire city.”
The comments were made during a discussion about an application from RTO Capital Inc. to rezone the land at 138 Ladysmith Dr. to make way for the construction of three two-storey townhouses.
In a unanimous vote, council agreed to proceed with the next steps in the amendment process for the St. John’s Municipal Plan and the St. John’s Development Regulations.
The properties are currently zoned residential narrow lot, where the only housing form permitted is a single-detached dwelling with one unit. The applicant, RTO Capital Inc., has asked to rezone the property to the apartment medium density zone, which allows for townhouses as a permitted use.
In the public consultation stage, company representatives and city staff were the only ones to show up for a virtual public hearing on Feb. 4,
However, the city received some written submissions from residents, who expressed concerns over increased crime, increased traffic and a perceived reduction of property values.
However, the commissioner and city staff say the proposed rezoning is consistent with the mixed residential housing envisioned for the area, and the policies and objectives of the province and the city.
In recommending approval to the amendments Monday, Councillor-at-large Maggie Burton said, “the plan states that the city shall allow increased density in all areas where appropriate and encourage a compatible mix of residential buildings at varying densities in all zones.
“So, the city feels these three townhouses would slightly increase the density, while being compatible with the adjacent … zones. So, this area is already a bit mixed.
“I have no concerns related to crime or property values when it comes to three townhouses of two storeys each.”
In seconding Burton’s motion, Froude said the area was intended to be a mix of zones.
“I think mixed types of housing makes neighbourhoods more sustainable, from a city planning perspective and economic perspective,” he said.
While Froude said he shares residents’ concern about speeding in the area, he doesn’t see accepting the application, with a marginal increase of units, having any impact on that.
The approved amendments will be forwarded to the province’s department responsible for municipalities for registration.