Charlottetown residents upset about house they say will block view

Some residents of downtown Charlottetown are concerned about a new home they say will block their view of Charlottetown Harbour.

Property owners say they purchased property with intention of building beautiful home

Christine Beck stands by the view she fears will be blocked if a house is built near there. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

Some residents in downtown Charlottetown are concerned about a new home they say will block the view of Charlottetown Harbour for those who live and spend time in the area.

The home is planned for the corner of Richmond and West streets.

The area is a popular spot that many people visit, said Christine Beck, who lives on Richmond Street near the lot. The area right beside the property is public space.  

"I think it will really change the neighbourhood," said Beck.

Beck said she's spoken to about 10 other neighbours who are concerned as well. 

This is the area where Larry Dunville wants to build his new home on Richmond Street. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

"One of the neighbours I spoke to said this view has been open for 100 years and she felt that it should stay that way, and that it's important historically for Charlottetown just because this is a place that a lot of people come to see what our culture is like," said Beck.

The view will change. There's no doubt about it, but we have a developable area and I purchased the property with the intention of building a beautiful home on it.- Larry Dunville

Beck said she thinks the heritage look of the neighbourhood is really important. When she moved to P.E.I. from Toronto 10 years ago she designated her home heritage. 

"I recognize the value of this corner and how beautiful it is and how inviting it is to the whole community," said Beck. "It's a wonderful corner and I don't think it should change to that degree."

New development in the city needs to pay attention to the look and the feel of neighbourhoods, she said.

Property owners say they're following all the rules

Larry and Beverley Dunville own the property and said they've been working with the City of Charlottetown for about three years to make sure they follow all of the rules and regulations while planning and eventually building their new single family home.

Larry Dunville said he has requested a variance to allow him to build closer to the property line. He said he wants to adjust the design of his house to better fit his narrow lot.

According to the couple, they tried to remove the existing house on the property but were denied by the city's heritage board three times. So they've subdivided the lot and are planning to build beside the house on the driveway and towards the water.

Area beside existing house where the Dunvilles want to build new house. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

"We'll try and do something that complements the area," said Dunville. 

"It will change the property. It will change some viewscapes but ... we won't be allowed to do anything that we're not allowed to do."

According to the city, the couple did meet with the heritage board with an application to take down the existing house. The board approved the request with conditions that related to the placement of the new house, but the applicant "was not prepared to accept those conditions" and chose to subdivide the property instead.

"View will change"

Dunville said he stills needs to go through several more stages to get final approval. All he is applying for at this time is a variance on the lot.  

"The view will change. There's no doubt about it, but we have a developable area and I purchased the property with the intention of building a beautiful home on it," said Dunville. 

"Cities change, cities grow, and people are starting to move back downtown. They want quality products downtown and we hope to put a quality product downtown."

Beck said neighbours in the area became aware of the plans when a notice regarding the request for the variance was circulated in the neighbourhood about two weeks ago by the planning department to property owners within 100 metres of the subject property. 

View of Charlottetown Harbour that some neighbours are concerned will be blocked by new build. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

As part of the application process, residents will be given the opportunity through written submissions to comment on the variance request to planning board and council. The application is scheduled to go to the planning board on June 6. It will review the application and any feedback received from the public, and then make a recommendation to Council.

Beck said she and neighbours have also met with Dunvilles' architect and a city councillor about their concerns.