Edmonton

Edmonton city council denies request for lot-splitting infill moratorium

Residents who live in mature neighbourhoods with large lots say new infill rules approved last spring pose a risk to the character of their communities

'You all love your neighbourhoods dearly but you're not up for others to enjoy them'

Residents said the character of neighbourhoods like Parkview are at risk under the city's infill rules. (Google Maps)

Residents who live in mature Edmonton neighbourhoods with large lots say new infill rules approved last spring pose a risk to the character of their communities.

But city council rejected the pleas of six residents from Parkview and Aspen Gardens who appeared at city hall on Monday to ask for a moratorium on splitting lots while city staff draft more guidelines.

On April 13, city council approved changes to a zoning bylaw to allow skinny residential properties in mature neighbourhoods without giving residents the opportunity to appeal.

Since then, the city has received 64 applicationsr to split lots under the new rules.

Lisa Miller, who has lived in Parkview for 31 years, said the larger lots in the community are unique, and should be preserved. 

She said skinny homes that are close together do not fit the "character" of the neighbourhood.

Longtime Parkview resident Lisa Miller told council neighbourhoods with large lots are unique and must be preserved. (CBC)
"It will totally change the look of the street.," Miller said.

She argued before council that homeowners in these areas have put a significant investment into their homes, and they deserve some certainty about what their neighbourhoods will look like.

Both communities represented at the meeting have median incomes well above the city average.

"Why must we apologize for working hard, buying the home of our dreams and living in desirable areas?" Miller asked.

The residents said city-wide lot-splitting policy lures developers away from areas that need work in favour of communities with more potential for profitable gains.

Another resident, Darren Jackinsky, said the policy drives potential buyers into the suburbs where the look of the neighbourhoods are more likely to remain consistent.

But Coun. Bev Esslinger said she struggled with the residents' comments.

"You all love your neighbourhoods dearly but you're not up for others to enjoy them," she said.

Councillors noted the two neighbourhoods represented are struggling to keep students in some schools.

"We don't have a lot of new kids moving in,:" said Coun Andrew Knack. "That to me is more harmful to the character."

Residents said they may consider placing restrictive covenants on their lands, which would prevent certain types of future development. 

Miller said that could pit neighbour against neighbour if someone wanted to sell.

Mayor Don Iveson said some of the residents` concerns may be addressed by the city`s review of the mature neighbourhood overlay bylaw, which governs infill development in mature neighbourhoods.

The results of that review are expected in mid-2016.

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