City staff remained opposed to decision
St. John’s city council Monday voted to rezone land on Maddox Cove Road to allow property development, against the recommendation of city staff.
“We (already) clear snow. We picks up the garbage. So there’s no cost to the city, so it’s just four more lots on the tax base,” said Ward 5 Coun. Wally Collins, who brought the back-and-forth development to council last month to reverse a previous rejection of the rezoning.
“We talk about affordable housing all the time — what’s wrong with someone that has the land? Their grandfathers and great-grandfathers had the land. I don’t see any reason why they can’t build on it.”
Last year, the commissioner of a public hearing recommended rejecting amendments to the municipal plan to allow the rezoning, concluding that more development along the road would “significantly detract from the rural nature of the road and thus its tourism value” and said the original zoning of the properties were put in place “to protect the rural and scenic nature of the properties in question and more broadly of the Maddox Cove Road area, and to prevent disorderly unplanned development of unserviced areas.”
At the time, council agreed, and rejected the amendments, but that decision was reversed last month, with Collins championing the cause of property owners who wanted to build houses on their lots on the north side of Maddox Cove, next to the boundary with the town of Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove.
City staff still recommended rejecting the amendments, according to a report from Ken O’Brien, the city’s chief municipal planner, on the rezoning.
“Council have previously been advised by the department of planning, development and engineering that it does not support this rezoning application,” wrote O’Brien.
Collins disagreed with the designation of that area of Maddox Cove Road as scenic.
“They deem it a scenic route. It is to a certain extent. When you get out farther, you can see the ocean and everything,” he said.
“But right there, as far as I’m concerned, it’s only woods and alders, like anywhere else, any other road. There’s houses there anyway, on both sides of them, so I don’t see the stand of that logic.”
Council unanimously approved the rezoning of the land from open space reserve to rural residential infill.
The amendments to the city’s municipal plan and development regulations will now be sent to the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs for approval.