Neighbours of a planned development on Mount Cashel Road have paid for their own assessment of the project, outlining their concerns about density and shadows to the city of St. John’s.
Jessica Dellow and Nick Crosbie, who live next door to where a developer has applied to build 27 townhouses, hired a Halifax firm to have a look at the project, because of their concerns about the project and with the land-use assessment report prepared by the city in February.
Neighbouring residents have many concerns about a planned development in this area on Mount Cashel Road in St. John’s. — Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram
“Net density is the biggest issue. The municipal plan contains requirements limiting the number of units that can be on a site, and the restriction for the low-density district is 25 units per hectare,” said Dellow. “The lot the city is looking at is 0.53 hectares, and they’re proposing 27 units, which is a density of 50.9. So it exceeds what’s permissible in the medium density, which is 50.”
Dellow and Crosbie also have concerns about the shadows that will be cast by the development and take issue with the developers’ description of the units as “townhouse style.”
“R2 zone townhousing is a defined term in the Development Regulations and this condominium development does not comply with the definition,” wrote Crosbie and Dellow in their submission to the city, which included the assessment from the firm that questions conclusions from the city’s land-use assessment report.
Dellow declined to say how much they paid for the assessment.
“It wasn’t cheap. I don’t want to say how much it cost, but we paid out of pocket for it, and we paid out of pocket for legal advice on this already as well,” she said, adding that she hopes their assessment highlights ways the city’s development process should be improved, because most people don’t have the resources to prepare formal submissions with as much thoroughness. “We are fortunate enough, we don’t have children, and we have the money that we can afford to get that, but not every citizen in St. John’s can get that, and we don’t think that every citizen should have to do that to engage with the city on an issue like this.”
Crosbie said it’s the development’s immediate neighbours who will be most affected.
“My wife and I are very insistent that there’s a certain amount of procedural fairness that we’re entitled to, and that’s what’s set out in the municipal plan and the development regulations, and we’re going to insist on that.”
He outlined the couple’s concerns at a public meeting Wednesday night at city hall, attended by about 15 people, not including representatives of the developers, city staff or councillors. Everyone who spoke at the meeting — many other Mount Cashel Road neighbours — had concerns about the project, including shadowing, traffic and snowclearing, but Crosbie stressed no one is against some sort of development going up.
“It’s an ugly lot. There’s an empty toilet sitting in the middle of it, a thrown-away toilet,” he said. “People would like to see some development there. It’s just people would like it to be reflective of the neighbourhood. There are less than 27 houses on the street right now, so to add 27 more would be doubling the number.”