Public opposition to B&B parking lot prompts deferral

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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St. John’s city council deferred a proposal Tuesday night for a parking lot on Cabot Avenue that has met with strong opposition from Battery residents.

The proposed four-vehicle parking lot would serve a proposed bed and breakfast on the same avenue, but council has received two dozen submissions and petitions from residents objecting to the development — enough opposition that city staff recommended rejecting the proposal, even though a review of the application has found it doesn’t conflict with the Battery development guideline study.

“Submissions from residents in response to the public notification of the discretionary use application for the parking area are unified in stressing that the entire development, including the B&B, is not in keeping with the existing pattern of development in the Battery,” reads the report from Jason Sinyard, the city’s director of planning and development. “The planning and development division recommends council reject the subject application for the proposed parking area due to the opposition of the proposed development.”

But Coun. Wally Collins moved to defer the proposal rather than reject it, saying the developer was planning to resubmit the proposal.

Coun. Bernard Davis was one of three councillors — along with Jonathan Galgay and Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth — to vote against deferring the issue. Davis said council has all the information it needs to make a decision on the application.

“I just think we should try to deal with the issues that we have at hand,” he said. “I think we had enough information to make the decision, but obviously the developer wanted to try to bring back something new.”

Davis said he doesn’t think many of the people who submitted concerns would accept any revamped proposal the developer comes up with.

“We have to make sure we listen to their concerns as best we can, and understand we’ve got to make decisions based on the best interests of everybody involved, the entire city,” he said. “I understand that they have concerns in those areas, and sometimes those concerns are because they don’t want it in their backyard, or because there’s legitimate concerns like traffic.”

Ellsworth said people in the area clearly have problems with the proposal — a petition  opposing the parking lot had almost 200 signatures.

“There’s very specific guidelines around what new development takes place, and the footprint of new development, the esthetics of new development are supposed to fit in to what’s there already,” said Ellsworth. “And from my point of view, I don’t think it did that. And I don’t think it’s fair to the residents or the proposed developer to let it drag on. I think we should deal with it and move it forward. There’s nothing stopping the developer from coming in with another proposal on another project.”

dmaceachern@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

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  • Keltic Warrior
    October 17, 2013 - 13:00

    Interesting article, tell me were you trying to make the Battery residents look like they are wrong in what they are doing, or did your article just turn out that way. You should interview people that are from the Battery to get their viewpoint on this matter. As for the "Battery development guideline study", this is not the only issue they have with this proposed development on the Battery. Oh and look at a map of the city sometime especially Battery Rd, if you don't have one, get a copy of the plans for this development from the city, and look at it carefully, you will notice that the area where the parking lot is proposed is not 39 Cabot Ave like it says in the plans, but in reality it is 39 Battery Rd. Also where the B&B development was to be, would also be on the Battery Rd directly across the now existing road, which already has quite a lot of foot traffic and auto traffic on it as it is. There are no sidewalks for the foot traffic any where in the Battery, so people have to walk on the roads, and watch out for the cars that also share the roads with them, increasing the traffic of this area more than it all ready is would be utter madness, it would increase the dangerous situation that already exists in the Battery. These are just a few of their concerns, they have more, why don't you ask some of them or all of them, before you write an article that makes the Battery residents look like the bad guys in all of this.

  • Anna
    October 17, 2013 - 09:07

    I hope this is not going to be a sign of things to come, the new councillors against the OLD ones. It is nice to see people making decisions and sticking with them not deferring for another time when the public is not paying attention and then trying to get approval.