Some Sidney residents upset over zoning changes

Handful of Sidney homeowners speak out against proposed zoning bylaw

Colours show the proposed zoning changes in the Town of Sidney

Colours show the proposed zoning changes in the Town of Sidney

Some Sidney residents could soon see significant changes to the zoning of their property.

The proposed changes affect what kinds of structures can be built and the future look and feel of their neighbourhoods.

At a public hearing Monday, May 28, more than a dozen speakers told council a proposed zoning bylaw change, in the works for three years, shouldn’t go ahead. One of the biggest concerns, prompting Coun. Tim Chad to vote against giving the bylaw a third reading, was that altered zoning would make certain properties legally non-conforming, and put at risk a homeowner’s chance at securing a mortgage.

“This change will make some properties unusable in the future for the owner,” Chad said. “I believe for a man or a woman that their home is their castle and they should have the right to approve actions made by the Town of Sidney.”

Coun. Steve Price said, “99.9 per cent of the town likes what staff has done.”

Some residents of Fourth Street said the zoning changes could take away their view if a proposed three-storey, 10-unit building goes up nearby (three units would be lower cost housing).

The zoning there is meant to change from high residential to commercial with mixed use.

It would have a “negative effect, both social and financial, on the neighbourhood landscape and property values of the residents in the immediate area,” Fraser Rea told council.

Coun. Kenny Podmore countered, “When your development went up, you took away someone else’s view,” prompting an angry response from Rea, who later left.

Business owners on Harbour Road expressed concerns that downgrading zoning to single family residential in the area could kill hopes of building multi-unit housing with commercial use.

“I take some faith and assurance in that this document is a living document and it’s possible to make changes,” Coun. Marilyn Loveless said, adding zoning can be changed on a case-by-case basis in the future.

And as some pointed out to council, it might affect their ability to get a mortgage, sell their house or buy home insurance.

“Use as a single family dwelling unit is no longer permitted,” said Ray Headrick who lives on First Street. “Now my retirement home is no longer permitted use on my own property. … What if I want to sell? Who buys a non-conforming home with an illegal or non permitted use?”

Sidney’s chief administrative officer Randy Humble said the structure can continue to operate as-is and renovations can be done.

“It’s almost impossible to do without impacting someone in some form either positively or negatively.”

All other councillors voted in favour of the third reading (except Coun. Melissa Hailey, who was absent).

Council cannot receive any further feedback from the public on the zoning bylaw. They take a final vote at a future meeting, which has not been scheduled.

 

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