New Brunswick

Neighbours worry about potential rooming house expansion in downtown Fredericton

Residents on Charlotte Street in Fredericton are concerned about a proposed zoning amendment for 244 and 246 Charlotte Street. The amendment would allow 12 people to live in the rooming house there, instead of the eight that are allowed to live there now.

Neighbours are saying no to a zoning amendment that would allow a rooming house to hold 12 people instead of 8

Neighbours are saying no to a zoning amendment that would allow a downtown Fredericton rooming house to hold 12 people instead of 8. 0:28

A proposed zoning amendment to increase the number of people living inside a rooming house in downtown Fredericton, worries residents living in the area.

The amendment would allow 12 people to live at 244 and 246 Charlotte St., instead of eight — the maximum number of people permitted to live in the downtown rooming house at one time. 

The amendment was proposed by Keith Young at Monday night's city council meeting, where residents also had a chance to voice their concerns.

Young owns the property and later confessed to having 14 people living inside the building but said each resident is living on low income.

And although no one opposed the changes spoke at council, the city received six letters voicing concerns about the rooming house. 

In letters to the city, neighbours said the property makes the neighbourhood "scary," citing late-night shouting matches, multiple police visits and trouble in the streets.

"I have a compassion for these people, that's just the way I am," said Young.

"I feel for them."

Concerns of homelessness 

Young presented his case for a zoning amendment to city council on Monday night. (Philip Drost/CBC)

Young said the complaints are unfair and worries that if those people aren't able to stay in his building, they will likely be homeless.

"We don't live in that perfect society where this homeless issue doesn't exist," said Young.

"It does exist. They are thankful that I have a house for them that they can live in and that they can afford."

Young showed up to council with four people who live in the house. Each spoke to council, saying they didn't want to move.

It's a tough situation in that everyone needs to follow the rules.-Coun. Eric Price

"I might've been in that situation … for a choice that I have made back in my younger years," said Young.

Throughout the night, it was clear Young wasn't getting much more support with his request.

Both city staff and the planning advisory committee have recommended council deny the amendment.

Council's decision is coming

Young said he handles the situation when people do cause problems and communicates with residents living in the home on a daily basis.

"If they don't fit with the rest of them, I instruct them that they have a month to vacate to a different location." 

Coun. Eric Price said he will talk to city staff to get more information before he makes a decision about the future of the property.

"The sad fact of the matter is that there's also some situations where they're living in places that don't conform with rules and regulations, so we have to find that happy medium," said Price.

The final decision on the zoning amendment will be made by council at their next meeting in two weeks.

"It's a tough situation in that everyone needs to follow the rules," said Price.

About the Author

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.