Neighbours object to proposal to turn house into office space
After strong objections from nearby residents, St. John’s city council has rejected a project that would have turned a residential building into office space.
In October, the city held a public hearing to consider a proposed amendment to rezone Civic No. 4 Oxen Pond Road, near The Bigs Ultimate Sports Grill (formerly Don Cherry’s), from residential low density to commercial neighbourhood to allow an existing house to be converted into office space.
The report from the commissioner of the public meeting, Stan Clinton, recommended rejection of the amendment due to concerns from neighbourhood residents over commercial use creeping farther into the neighbourhood.
City staff recommended rejecting the report, but council voted unanimously to accept the report and reject the amendment.
Could set precedent
“Listening to both the residents’ and the proponents’ presentations, I feel that the commisioner’s recommendations to reject the proposed amendment, to the changing of the zoning … for this area is the correct approach to take,” said Coun. Bernard Davis. “By changing the zoning to CN or commercial neighbourhood, the permitted uses go up substantially. It could be a custom workshop, like a weld shop, or a dry-cleaning establishment, laundromat, retail store.”
Davis said had council agreed to the rezoning, area residents worry it would have set a precedent.
“Right across the street, we’ve got a property that’s almost identically set up,” he said. “If we approve No. 4, then No. 3 is next, I would assume. That’s what they believe. Also, there’s a parcel of city-owned land just behind the parking lot there by Don Cherry’s — or, The Bigs now. The residents have a feeling that that could be a sign of a bigger development in the future.”
Davis said there’s not much council can do.
“We would love to be able to have the office there, because it’s not a bad use for the (building). But once you change the zoning there, the proponent on the other side of the street would want to have that development moved down, too. … If we do that, the residents would be impacted negatively.”