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This article was published 21/5/2019 (759 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
An effort by Osborne Village residents to stop two projects they consider to be precedent-setting and incompatible came up short at city hall.
On May 7, the city centre community committee approved the subdivision, rezoning and variance applications for two properties to be developed by the same applicant.
The applications for 327 and 339 Wardlaw Ave. were approved to allow the development of a four-storey, 30-unit rental complex on the site. The two mid-block lots, a combined 12,016 square feet, were rezoned from residential multi-family medium to residential multi-family large. Both lots currently have single-family dwellings on-site.
The committee also approved applications for 530 River Ave., at the corner of Nassau Street, to build a four-storey multi-family complex with 20 units. The property was rezoned from residential two-family to residential multi-family large. The duplex on site will be demolished.
Under the Osborne Village Neighbourhood Plan, a secondary planning document adopted in 2007 to guide development in the area, the properties fall within the Village Medium Density Residential Area.
Elaine Henderson, a member of the Osborne Village West committee, said the community’s interpretation of the plan, through past consultation and correspondence with the city’s planning department, was that development in the Village Medium Density Residential Area would not exceed the residential multi-family medium zoning.
Henderson said the city planning department’s interpretation of the Osborne Village Neighbourhood Plan contrasts that of the residents.
"It does not uphold the community’s expectation of the plan or of the city," Henderson said.
The Osborne Village West committee also argued that by approving the rezoning and increased density, the city is opening the door for developers to continue high-density development in areas where it wasn’t intended.
"Like a chain of dominoes, street after street of Village Medium Density Residential properties and Village Mixed Use Transition properties could be rezoned to high-density, as developers use each new high-density site to justify rezoning of the next adjacent property," said Judith Lehn, a member of the residents committee.
"Our concerns are not unfounded, as our community has already seen this pattern starting to develop around River Avenue and Nassau Street."
City officials said they do not believe the proposed developments to be precedent-setting, nor do they believe the proposed density is contrary to the neighbourhood plan.
Speaking at the public hearing on 530 River Ave., former city planning director Harry Finnigan said community participation is written into the Osborne Village Neighbourhood Plan, and without that component, an incomplete application was before the committee.
"This is not an option to consult with the community, it is a requirement. Any future applications you receive, you should be able to expect there is some consultation happening," said Finnigan, who lives near the River Avenue development.
Danny Serhal of Affinity Architecture, on behalf of the applicant, said they did not hold independent community consultation with neighbours, but relied on the neighbourhood plan to inform their designs.
Serhal said a comprehensive exchange with city planners resulted in the design of two buildings that respect the streetscape, increase density and have parking hidden away. He also said the level of density in a new build is directly related to the affordability of the suites.
Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) said she is encouraged by the socioeconomic diversity of households in Osborne Village, which additional density allows.
— Canstar News
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.