The City of St. John’s has received a lot of feedback both for and against the application, which would see Shara Desiree King and Dave Mullett operate Midnight Tailors out of their No. 37 home. According to updated application details, custom accessories and costumes would be created on site to be sold elsewhere, and no customers would frequent the home. The original application was much the same, but would have seen customers arrive there on an appointment-only basis.
Opposition to plan
Several of the objections came from neighbours with concerns about increased traffic on the cul-de-sac.
“We feel strongly that allowing this application to go through would adversely impact the amenity of our neighbourhood with the inevitable traffic, noise, disturbance and loss of privacy,” one resident wrote to the city. “It’s not what we bought into when we moved here 18 years ago and the normal pressures of business will only exacerbate these negative effects.”
Another resident said there’s been increased traffic at 37 Warren Place in recent months, despite the assertion that customers won’t visit the site, as well as UPS deliveries.
“These two factors have made a noticeable difference to the traffic patterns in the area,” she said, adding that the home is adjacent to a path leading to Vanier Elementary school.
“Exiting this laneway onto the cul de sac by schoolchildren on foot or bikes is done blindly due to a large hedge. Increased traffic multiplies this safety issue to pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s a high-traffic spot for school-age children year round. Any zoning change would be an assault to all other residents in the area.”
Response from applicants
King and Mullett responded to individual objections in a letter to the city. They said they have had only four deliveries since they moved to the address, and none of them were business related.
“We are very confused about the point discussing ‘the magnitude of delivery trucks’ as we do not/have not had an unreasonable amount of deliveries to our home. Four since we moved in. Also, we have noticed delivery trucks in the neighbourhood on a regular basis, and think that it is unfair to assume that they are all dropping off at our address. That being said, in this day and age, everyone shops online and receive deliveries to their home, so we feel this point is moot,” they wrote.
They also wrote that they have been moving King’s grandparents’ belongings out of the home and moving their own belongings in, which may have accounted for some traffic.
“This home has been in our family for a long time and this neighbourhood is very important to us. We have no interest in upsetting this family neighbourhood and look forward to one day raising our own family here.”
Several supporters of the business also took the time to write to the city, including Jeff Power, who said he knows the couple as both friends and business associates.
“On a personal level, they are amazing people, always positive and supportive of those around them,” he wrote to council.
“On the business side, this is exactly the sort of local cottage industry we desperately, desperately need more of in the province. They’ve built their business from scratch into a success, with their own sweat and toil in a non-traditional take on their industry (again, more of this is so very needed). The types of activities they do are not noisy, not polluting, doesn’t require changing the exterior of the house, non disruptive.
“If you didn’t know they were there doing this, you’d never know they were there doing this.”
The matter will be before city council at Monday’s regular meeting. The City’s Planning and Development Division has recommended approval, subject to city requirements.