The Strathcona Centre Community League has filed an appeal with the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) against the construction of a house at 9213 – 97 Street NW, in the Mill Creek Ravine North. The SDAB Hearing will take place in mid-February.
Here are the reasons for our appeal:
1) This house is to be built on a lot which is zoned A for parkland, with discretionary use for a single-family home. Several aspects of the proposed development are inappropriate for this location and we believe the Development Officer should have exercised his discretion to disallow the application.
The A zone requires 7.5 m setbacks and the City has given the owner variances in order to reduce those setbacks. We oppose the reduced setbacks as they would allow the development of a house that is inappropriately large for the location.
2) The height of this 10 metre house would impede the park users’ enjoyment of the ravine. It will block the creek bed from the bike trail. It will also block upward views from the lower trail that runs just below the site. People walking beside the creek along the lower trail would look up to the building which would tower about 13 metres above them because it is to be built on a high ledge.
The Mature Neighbourhood Overlay does not allow for a 10 metre high house; it allows for a 8.9 metre house which would also be too high for this site in the park, located as it is between two public trails.
3) The fact that the easement crosses a public, heavily-used bike trail, means that the building would impede public safety, use and enjoyment of this public land.
4) Concerned area residents were not notified. The city followed their policy of only notifying those within a 60 metre radius which, in this case, meant that no notices were sent out to residents because the site is in the middle of parkland. The Community League was notified as per the usual process but the thousands of users of the park were not. Notices should have gone up on the bike trail, and the lower trail, explaining to the park users why the City was giving variances to the landowner. Failing in-depth consultation, this project must be rejected until a proper consultation takes place.
5) Trees are always protected when construction is done in our neighbourhood. There are a number of very tall trees surrounding the site whose root systems will be affected when they dig out the house’s foundation. We know that trees’ root systems extend great distances from the base of the tree and are often interconnected with other root systems. The permit should insist that the trees’ root systems in the ravine will be protected and an explanation should be given as to how that could be accomplished.