Seeking comments on an already-done deal

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In the spring of 2013, despite strong objections from business people and residences of the area, St. John’s city council gave approval to Republic Properties to erect two six-storey buildings at the east end of Duckworth Street.

Now, in your Jan. 25 edition, council is asking the public for “their comments” on spot zoning to accommodate these two structures.

In other words, city council needs (for appearances sake) to make legal what they have already approved — the erection of two six-storey buildings at the blind intersection where Cavendish Square meets Duckworth Street.

Republic Properties has, according to their billboards, been given permission to place these two box-like structures (ironically called “The Lighthouse Project”) flush with the sidewalk on either side of this narrow street. When these monstrosities are completed, be assured a further request will be made to erect an overpass above the sunless wind tunnel they have created.

This project blatantly disregards all council’s own regulations regarding traffic flow, sight lines, and residential and commercial zoning. Even more important to someone with regard for downtown, these buildings scorn the aesthetic and historic integrity of old St. John’s — our uniqueness — an attribute council loves so much to advertise.

And if we citizens do submit our comments to council by Feb. 3 as requested, is there any assurance they will be listened to any more than the comments from the hundreds of us who were at the May 22 meeting?

Of course, anyone who objects to this manipulation must sign their own names to all comments.

Republic Properties, however, revealing little more than the names of their lawyers, can apparently acquire unadvertised public property and co-opt City Hall into rendering void regulations that have taken many years, much debate, staff time and tax money to put in place.

Bernice Morgan

St. John’s

Organizations: The Lighthouse

Geographic location: Duckworth Street

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  • p allderdice
    January 29, 2014 - 18:44

    In order to establish their reputation as guardians for St John's historic properties - I suggest that the boys of Republic Properties hire Bernice Morgan as consultant and follow her recommendations to the letter.