Residents of East St. Paul say a new proposed development has brought their attention to a larger issue with development in the community.
Residents fear if Lombard North Group’s Garven North subdivision goes forward, it could open the door to houses being built on smaller lots in the community. As a result, they say, their property values could decrease, traffic problems will increase, and the character of the community will change.
Brian Duval, who lives on Ridgeview Place just south of where the development is proposed to be built, is heading up East St. Paul Citizens Against R1-8 Residential Zoning.
The group is seeking to block legislation that will allow lot sizes that are approximately 8,000 square feet in the neighbourhood. According to an RM zoning map, nearly all of the residential development in the municipality is zoned for 17,000-square-foot lot sizes, with the one exception being a portion of new homes built inside the Perimeter Highway just east of Henderson Highway, which are zoned as 10,000-square-foot lots.
The RM of East St. Paul council will hold a public hearing on an amendment to the rural municipality’s zoning bylaw, which would allow for 8,000-square-foot lot sizes within the municipality, at its meeting on March 12 at 6:45 p.m. The meeting is slated to be held at the council chambers at 1-3021 Birds Hill Rd., though members of the public are encouraged to call the office at 204-668-8112 to confirm the time and place in case details are changed.
"If we can manage to get the 8,000-square-foot category denied, then this developer’s proposal as it exists, as it was presented, is not allowed," Duval said.
Duval pointed to the RM of East St. Paul development plan as reasons to shoot down the bylaw. The plan states such objectives as "To provide a semi-urban living environment as an alternative to the urban residential lifestyle," and "To ensure land uses are compatible with adjacent areas and reflect the demographic and market profile of the community."
Duval explained that he and wife Connie expected the parcel of land to the north of their home to be developed at one point or another, something of which he is in favour as long as the development fits the character of the neighbourhood.
"Quite frankly, it’s everything that brought us out here (that would be taken away)," Duval said. "On this particular street, we’ve been lucky, because this has been open the whole time. We know it’s going to be developed, and it should be. Of course it should be. But it should look like the rest of the community. I don’t think that’s too much to ask."
Duval noted while some people prefer smaller lot sizes, there are several options for them in other areas.
"We don’t have a problem with small lots. Some people prefer that," he said. "No one’s going to criticize them for that. Likewise, no one should criticize us for wanting that same home on a bigger lot.
"It’s the character that we enjoy."
Duval and the group have started up two online information hubs: a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/espcard and a petition at www.petitions24.com/card, which had received 100 signatures as of Feb. 13.
Duval feels though the Lombard North Group proposal will only affect residents close to Garven Road, it could set a precedent for other development in the area, pointing out residents of Eagle Creek Drive and Woodstone Drive could be affected as there is land that could be developed just north of those homes.
The Lombard North Group proposal required a development plan amendment, which was approved in January. The subdivision application will be called before council if the amendment to the zoning bylaw is passed.