Photo by Whitehorse Star
City council and the city have received harsh criticism and a tongue-lashing from a local resident who says he’s fed up with how proposed amendments to the zoning bylaw are handled.
Mike Martin accuses the city and council of paying lip service to the public comments received during the process to review applications for zoning amendments.
The city already has its mind made up, and comments received don’t mean spit to the outcome, insists Martin in the only submission received during the public hearing into another proposed zoning amendment. It would allow for an eight-unit apartment complex on Centennial Street.
Martin says it’s an insult to even hold a public hearing.
“I have been to three of these amendments now and there has always been an overwhelming majority against the severity of the changes, yet the changes always go through,” says his submission.
“This new amendment has already been accepted, and the fact that you are putting us through this procedure ... as I said is a total insult. You are just going through the motions.”
The proposed amendment would change the zoning from single-family residential to multi-family for lot 1308 located between 12th and 14th avenues, across from the former Porter Creek garden centre.
The proposal for the eight-unit apartment complex requires approval of the zoning amendment.
Council approved the same zoning amendment for the adjacent lot in 2019, allowing for the construction of a nine-unit apartment complex.
City administration conducts extensive reviews of rezoning applications to ensure they fit into the city’s goals and aspirations. Only then does administration bring forward the required bylaw.
Administration is recommending approval of the amendment, as it did for the property next door.
Council has established a priority to increase housing density and opportunities for more affordable housing units.
Martin says in his letter the proposed amendment is already a done deal.
Council members should not be surprised if they don’t receive many comments on rezoning the lot from single-family to multi-family, he writes, before knowing his was the only submission received.
“Please don’t take it as a sign that we accept the amendment proposal but it is rather a response to knowing the deal is already accepted and we have no say,” Martin writes.
“We know we are just wasting our time by writing comments.”
He says there was a time when he thought he might be able to make a difference by influencing the mayor and council to consider a more reasonable number of units for the proposed development, such as four instead of eight.
Not anymore, he writes.
Martin says council should be ashamed of giving people hope that they can make a difference where no hope exists.
The city is losing the charm he loved when he moved here 32 years ago, he says.
Martin says they’re now looking for a home outside city limits, though it’s difficult to find something suitable, but they’re looking – everyday.
City communications manager Myles Dolphin said this week the city does not typically comment on submissions received.
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