Time for appropriate development

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We wonder why some persons are so eager to give away other citizens’ view rights, which are de facto guaranteed by the regulatory regime for building development.

Views are an essential component of a dwelling or premises. They can make the difference between a temporary hovel and a home.

Views do not have to be perfect, but include interesting distant focal points, recommended for eye relaxation and health. St. John’s views include the varied features of the cityscape and surroundings.

The amphitheatre-like topography of old St. John’s and its varied viewscapes should be considered precious assets, to be protected. Interventions must be controlled and guided by neighbourly respect.

A current LeMarchant Road condominium proposal would rob a large swath of dwellings of their acquired rights and value, not only on LeMarchant Road but up the hillside toward Freshwater Road and beyond.

How can a high-rise slab-type building, long as a football pitch, belong on LeMarchant Road, which is a heritage asset, one of the earliest expansions of St. John’s, and includes houses that survived the Great Fire of 1892? It was intended to be a tree-lined boulevard of stately houses.

These overlarge buildings overcrowded on inadequate sites are not the “heritage” we want to leave for future generations.

The proposal resembles a 60- to 85-foot high penitentiary wall, over 300 feet long, casting a massive shadow right into the downtown entertainment and business district, and blighting the viewscape in much of the city.

Then the self-serving statement that uphill neighbours’ views would also be completely lost with compliant, three-storey developments: they would only be reduced by a legal amount.

What’s wrong with a compliant building design? If one developer or architect won’t do it, there are others that could. Not only compliant, but optimally responding to all the real needs.

Roman Halitzki

St. John’s Association for

Appropriate Development

Geographic location: LeMarchant Road, Freshwater Road

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Recent comments

  • Sean Murray
    December 19, 2013 - 08:14

    There are public views and there are private views. A number of years ago, a study was completed by the City of St. John's which identified a number of public viewplanes which should be protected. Those would be views that are accessible from public areas. While I can sympathize with an individual home owner who has lost a long cherished view, I wouldn't place the loss of a private view in the same category as one which is available to be enjoyed by all citizens. One view which we now appear to be losing is the one from Nunnery Hill, off Gower Street. Although not well known, it offered perhaps the best panoramic view of the downtown, the harbour and the Southside Hills from anywhere in the downtown. New development has been approved for that site which will now remove that view from public access forever.

  • Jackie
    December 19, 2013 - 07:43

    Get a grip. you own your property not a "view". If you want a view move out around the bay, not down town St. John's.

  • Ed Fry
    December 19, 2013 - 06:47

    What nonsense. You have no "right" to a view. Period. NIMBYism is alive and well in St. John's.