Despite having to return to East Kildonan-Transcona Community Committee, the condo project at 2090 Henderson Hwy. is going forward.
The 10-unit project, which was rezoned from single-family to multi-family (small) following approval from community committee in December and city council in January, came back to community committee to apply for a variance on June 18.
Homes on the west side of Henderson in the area around the project tend to be setback 200-plus feet from the road, but the developers applied for a 25-foot setback from Henderson. However, Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) amended the application to a 40-foot setback to allow for a potential widening of Henderson in the future.
"We need to make sure that, as any property changes occur, we leave enough room for those future widenings," he said, noting the property’s frontage would only be 11 feet after widening. After the amendment, the frontage would be 26 feet.
Browaty said when the North Henderson Highway Secondary Plan was passed in 1977, much of the multi-family housing in the area didn’t exist north of Gilmore Avenue.
He said change, including not forcing landowners to keep sprawling front yards, is required to help keep older families in the area with units like condos.
Developer Betty Neufeld of East St. Paul, who made the application with husband Werner, was glad to see the application approved, even with the amendments. She said even with the loss of the 15 feet, they may not have to cut a unit.
"(The building) might be a little bit smaller, or it might be a little closer to the river," she said. "Those are all still options we have to look at and discuss with our engineers."
Once that option is discovered, the Neufelds hope to begin building this summer.
Cheryl Pakosh, who lives next door with her husband and two children, has opposed the project from the outset, not only for the effect she feels it will have on her family, but because she doesn’t believe the lot is wide enough for the units.
She pointed to the nearby Oaks of Henderson complex on the east side of Henderson that was built similarly on a slightly wider lot. She said residents there report operating vehicles in the parking lot is ‘awkward.’
"It was not an unexpected decision, quite honestly," Pakosh said. "The process overall surprises me. We had seven people speak in opposition that evening, and the councillors, I don’t know why they don’t address any concerns or opposition or really probe the applicants about the project."
The decision does not need to be forwarded to another city board, but there is an appeal committee which residents can speak with.