May 31, 2002

Iqaluit council rejects Road to Nowhere rezoning

Developer wanted to build multi-family dwellings on single-family lots

DENISE RIDEOUT

It looks like the Road to Nowhere subdivision might not be the solution to Iqaluit’s housing crunch.

A local building developer, Jomanic-Can, was looking to build multi-family dwellings, such as townhouses and row housing, on seven lots on the Road to Nowhere.

With so few lots available in the capital city, building developers can’t put up new homes fast enough to meet Iqalungmiut’s housing demands.

But at the May 28 Iqaluit city council meeting, council members rejected Jomanic-Can’s request.

Right now, the lots in the subdivision are zoned R-1, which means they’re set aside for single-family dwellings and mobile homes.

In order to build multi-family units, Jomanic-Can had to request the city rezone the lots to R-2 lots.

Jomanic-Can’s request went to the council’s planning committee, but the committee found several problems with rezoning the lots.

Keith Irving, chair of the planning committee, told council that the lots might not be large enough for townhouses or row houses.

When other multi-family units were being built in the subdivision, developers ran into some minor problems with the small lots. They ended up asking the city’s lands department for permission to set the backyard further back than they were supposed to.

Irving said the problem is there would be little room to move the backyards on the lots Jomanic-Can is interested in. That’s because homes are already going up on the land behind those lots.

Homeowners in the Road to Nowhere subdivision also took issue with the rezoning request — and city council listened.

At a public meeting on May 14, homeowners told council they didn’t want to see row houses or townhouses going up in the subdivision.

The homeowners said they didn’t like the idea of low-income housing coming into their neighbourhood. They were also worried multi-family dwellings would increase the density and traffic in the area, and that it would lower the value of their property.

Taking the size of the lots and the homeowners’ concerns into consideration, council voted unanimously to reject Jomanic-Can’s request to rezone the lots.

But the debate about rezoning the Road to Nowhere subdivision isn’t over yet.

At its next meeting, city council will discuss how it wants to see the subdivision develop and will vote on whether to put 10 lots up for a ballot draw.