Whitehorse Daily Star

City staff seek decisions on infill lots

Plans to add residential lots to a number of neighbourhoods around the city could soon move forward, depending on how council votes next week.

By Stephanie Waddell on January 11, 2018

Plans to add residential lots to a number of neighbourhoods around the city could soon move forward, depending on how council votes next week.

At the past Monday’s council meeting, members were presented with a recommendation that it allow staff to do the work that would result in new residential properties on Wann Road in Porter Creek, Sandpiper Drive in Arkell and Wilson Drive in Granger.

The three locations are all zoned as Residential Single Family.

They represent the last of the sites that were proposed by city staff for infill, with council approving rezoning for five in November 2017.

All but one property on Magpie Road in Arkell were in country residential neighbourhoods.

The infill concepts came forward last year as part of the city’s efforts to expand land available for housing and get more lots on the market.

Rezoning isn’t required for the three sites council is now considering.

However, city staff are “now requesting that council pass a resolution to either move forward with development or not on these sites,” as it was stated in a report that came forward to council Monday.

Under the proposal, the 0.25 ha site on Wann Road close to Redwood Street could have up to three units, with a duplex or triplex permitted along with single-detached housing; the 0.14 ha area on Sandpiper Drive close to Heron Drive could have up to four units, including single-detached homes that could each have a suite on two lots; and the 0.12 hectare site on Wilson Drive at Hayes Crescent could have up to two units with a duplex or single-detached homes permitted on the site.

When the initial proposal was brought forward last year, there were another two sites – one on Talus Drive and another on Fireweed Drive – considered that were ultimately voted down by council following a public input period.

Part of the input included a survey on each the urban and country residential infill proposals.

Of the three properties now being looked at, 93 people responded to a survey.

Of those, 78 per respondents supported the plans for Wilson Drive; 74 per cent endorsed the plans for Sandpiper Drive; and 72 per cent were in favour of the plans for Wann Road.

Along with support, there were also those opposed.

Concerns were expressed around the potential loss on neighbouring property values, of green space and trails.

In the report to council, it’s acknowledged there is some loss of both, though it represents a small percentage in each neighbourhood.

“With respect to trail protection, the trail connection through the Wann Road site is blocked by private property and cannot be maintained,” reads the report.

“In Granger, there is a trail corridor within 85 m from the subject site that accesses the adjacent greenspace.”

The report goes on to highlight both territorial and city plans on housing; planning and sustainability in noting the need for more housing.

As it was pointed out, council’s own strategic plan calls for planning for growth and affordable housing as two of its priorities.

“This initiative supports these priorities, as it provides land for housing and helps avoid shortages,” reads the report.

“Developing lots in existing neighbourhoods makes better use of existing infrastructure (roads/sewer/water) and reduces servicing and maintenance costs (snow clearing/road repair/waste collection) per unit.”

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