The applicant behind a development proposal that would reduce the number of parking stalls at the Steinbach bowling alley threw a gutter ball Tuesday, passing up an opportunity to address objections raised by neighbours at a public hearing.
Andrew Aiken applied for a variance for 41 Brandt Street, home to Deluxe Bowl. The property’s owner, Chasvik Enterprises, proposed attaching an optometry clinic to the existing building. The new addition would include space for a kitchen for use by the bowling alley.
The variance asked council to reduce the number of required parking stalls to 19 from 28, and bring the existing building’s narrow rear yard setback into compliance with the city’s zoning bylaw.
In reports to council, city administrators took no issue with the setback compliance portion of the variance, but recommended denying the parking stall reduction.
Council agreed, passing a motion to grant the setback variance but deny the parking request.
"We’ve heard loud and clear that there are concerns about parking there now. We need to take that seriously," Councillor Michael Zwaagstra, who put forward the motion, said.
Aiken wrote in his application the bowling alley primarily runs evenings and weekends, while the clinic would keep weekday business hours.
That claim didn’t scan with several people who spoke up at the hearing, including lawyer David Banman, who spoke on behalf of four business owners and two residential property owners in the vicinity.
One of those business owners was Councillor Damian Penner, proprietor of Rocco’s Pizzeria, who excused himself at the outset of the variance proceedings.
Banman said his clients bemoaned the prospect of losing parking stalls in an already congested, high-traffic area.
The owners Choice Dental Care and A&W also objected, saying the building’s enlarged footprint would create a blind corner, and noting bowlers already parked in their lots.
"That’s a very congested, very busy corner. They’re already sharing each other’s parking lots, it sounds like, as it is," Mayor Earl Funk said.