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Residents of St. John's cul-de-sac hire lawyer in parking lot dispute with dance school

The proposed lot to be paved to increase parking at the Connie Parsons School of Dance.
The proposed lot to be paved to increase parking at the Connie Parsons School of Dance. - The Telegram

Connie Parsons is ‘flabbergasted’ that a lawyer is getting involved in proposed parking lot expansion

Connie Parsons, owner of the Connie Parsons School of Dance, is “flabbergasted” about ongoing opposition to a parking lot expansion she has been trying to get in motion since August.

Residents of Kents Place have hired Wadden Pettigrew Hogan lawyer Andrew Wadden to act on their behalf in opposition to an expanded parking lot at the Connie Parsons School of Dance.

Wadden was approached by members of 10 households on Kent Place who have opposed the expansion of a driveway, citing concerns over increased traffic and noise with more cars in the parking lot.

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Council will hear submissions regarding the application at Wednesday morning’s committee of the whole meeting. Wadden says the residents are strongly opposed to the expansion.

“The extension of this parking lot — in practical terms — is an expansion of the business into the street. (The residents) don’t want to allow that. They feel that the cul-de-sac should be allowed for their peaceful enjoyment,” said Wadden.

“The residents have no problem with business succeeding. They just don’t want it encroaching on their street.”

The business is located on Portugal Cove Road, but the parking lot is located across the street. Dance school attendees enter the parking lot through Kent Place and exit onto Elizabeth Avenue.

Parsons originally got permits in place for an expansion of the parking lot of her business, just off Elizabeth Avenue, in August. She applied to the city at that time for a discretionary use permit to convert a portion of the driveway of a home next door — which Parsons purchased in June — into the parking lot of the dance school.

Should the application be approved, the parking lot would add about five parking spaces, allowing students who previously had to park on the street to park in the lot.

After the initial proposal was rejected in September, Parsons resubmitted the proposal in early November.

Parsons says she can’t believe the process has gone on this long, with so much opposition.

“Initially, I went about this project to help the neighbourhood and to solve an ongoing problem, which was a lack of parking. I thought I was doing a great thing for the neighbours by solving a complaint they had for years,” said Parsons.

“They thought that I was going to try and commercialize the house, or tear it down. But none of that is happening. None of that was ever applied for or ever will be.”

Parsons says she didn’t anticipate the expansion would be such an issue. She had already hired a paving company to do the work, with a portion of the driveway already torn up. She says the delays will cost her business tens of thousands of dollars more than she originally budgeted.

Making matters more complicated, the asphalt plant will close on Dec. 15 and reopen at the end of May.

“I’m feeling a lack of support of small business in mixed neighbourhoods. I am a business which promotes health and safety, a safe haven for kids, and the arts. I’ve been around for over 20 years doing good for the community — paying my taxes, employing all kinds of people. This is totally unnecessary,” said Parsons.

Council will make a decision on the resubmitted application either at the committee of the whole meeting or the following Monday.

Twitter: DavidMaherNL

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