The City of Winnipeg is looking for public feedback after releasing its long-awaited set of draft guidelines for new developments and lot-splitting in mature neighbourhoods.
"The guidelines will assist in achieving appropriate and contextual design for small-scale residential buildings and provide direction on where these different types of buildings should be located within our mature neighbourhoods," the city said in a release Friday.
Residents have long-lamented certain neighbourhoods, such as Glenwood, see a rash of approved lot-splits, while others in Tuxedo, for example, have infills denied after resident protests.
Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) said while some of the proposed recommendations indicate the city has been listening to residents, there's "one huge problem."
"There is a provision on page 14 that is a little hard to decipher but, in essence, says we’re going to make lot-splitting easier in other parts of the city. It doesn’t say, ‘Just like in Glenwood,’ but it might as well," said Mayes, whose ward includes Glenwood.
"Nothing has created more complaints in my office than the way the lot-splitting has been done in Glenwood."
The city held its first round of engagement on the infill rules in October 2019. Nearly a year later, it has produced the "Small-Scale Residential Development Guidelines for Mature Communities" — a set of suggestions to intended equalize infill development rules.
The guidelines outline preferred location criteria for a range of development types, including single-family homes, side-by-side units, duplexes and triplexes. The document also proposes guidelines for the consideration of zoning, characteristics of the existing home and neighborhood, and access to street networks and transit lines.
The city is also recommending guidelines for tree-planting and landscaping, building design and architectural features, and building height limits to help keep new builds in character with their community.
The goal, the city said, is to ensure new developments fit in with mature communities — typically neighbourhoods built before 1960 — and promote increased density and variety of housing options across the city while providing predictability for developers.
Working-class neighbourhoods such as Glenwood, Mayes said, tend to suffer from construction-related complaints and developments that lose the character of the surrounding neighbourhood when lot-splits are quickly and easily approved in the area.
"We all love the theory of more densification, but if you’d lived through this Glenwood experience you would not be in a rush to spread it elsewhere," Mayes added, noting he will be consulting with residents and the city over the next three weeks on the infill issue.
Residents are asked to provide feedback at upcoming in-person engagement sessions Sept. 30, Oct. 3 and 8, virtual engagements Oct. 4 and 7, or through an online survey available until Oct. 15.
Recommended guidelines are expected to proceed to city council in early 2021, the city said in the release.
Julia-Simone Rutgers is a general-assignment reporter.