Mount Pearl Coun. Dave Aker outlines for council why the application to rezone 40 lots in Pearlview should be rejected. — Photo by Josh Pennell/The Telegram
An application by a developer to rezone land under development was rejected at Tuesday’s Mount Pearl council meeting due to opposition by residents.
The developers of Pearlview subdivision had put a request before council to rezone 40 lots in Phase 6 of the development from a zone that allows residential single units without apartments to residential medium density, which would allow houses that contain apartments.
Following the council meeting, Coun. Dave Aker said the developers have a very good track record, but at a consultation meeting where residents currently living in Pearlview subdivision were invited to express their feelings on the matter, Aker said the reception to the idea was very cold.
“Most of the reaction we got from the residents who turned out for the briefing session as well as email and written correspondence was very negative towards this rezoning. Nobody really spoke on behalf of the rezoning with the exception of the developer,” he said.
The concerns raised at the briefing were included increased density, increased traffic, potential for increased crime, loss of green space and decreases in property values due to these issues. Aker said the issue of increased density particularly could not be ignored.
“Some of the issues we’re seeing you could classify as NIMBY (not in my backyard) but the central issue is yes, you are increasing the density of the neighbourhood.”
The people currently in the development had bought homes in an area that allowed only residential single units and to suddenly change that was felt by council to be unjust to residents.
“They view it as a change in the middle of the game,” said Aker.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Coun. John Walsh also spoke on the issue.
“We take our lead from the people who are most affected by the decision,” he said, adding the combination and number of arguments council received from residents in the area were too many and too varied to ignore.
Following the council meeting, Aker also said that in this particular development — which runs from Topsail Road north towards Masonic Park — the basement apartment rate is about 67 per cent compared to the typical average in the city of Mount Pearl of just under 30 per cent.
That fact also had a large impact on council’s decision.
“We did not want to see the percentage or the depth of the basement apartments increase by changing the zoning. That was a compelling factor in council’s decision,” Aker said.
Council voted unanimously to reject the rezoning application.