Council backs housing units for six commercial lots

Four families, plus two more, may be getting their wish from Armstrong council.

Four families, plus two more, may be getting their wish from Armstrong council.

City staff has prepared a text amendment to a general commercial (C.1) zone that would include single-family dwellings as a permitted use only on the six subject properties located on Patterson Avenue and Mill Street.

In February, four property owners expressed their concerns in a letter to council that if some disaster happened to their homes, they would not be allowed to rebuild as the homes would be non-conforming in a commercial zone.

“If anyone’s house burns down to the ground we can’t rebuild on this land, and we can’t make any changes such as putting in a basement or another room,” wrote Cheryl Urquhart in a letter on the matter to council.

The city wrote letters to the four original property owners advising them that council would consider their request, then sent a letter to other non-conforming homes in the area, explaining council had received a petition for a zoning change.

Two more properties – one on Patterson and one on Mill – joined the petition.

One other thing that will help the property owners if the application passes is their home insurance.

“We cannot buy regular house insurance,” wrote Urquhart. “We have to go to a non-conforming insurance which will double or even triple the amount we pay at the moment.”

Coun. Ryan Nitchie, chairperson of the city’s planning and development committee, introduced the text amendment application, saying it’s something that should have been done a long time ago.

“The zoning was done a long time ago when the first official community plan draft was done, in the 1990s, I think,” said Nitchie.

“It probably should have been addressed at that time. We’re now cleaning it up.”

Council unanimously gave first two readings to the application (Councillors Shirley Fowler and John Trainor were absent from the council meeting).

Council has announced that a public hearing on the application will be held Aug. 13.

The hearing will take place at 7 p.m. in council chambers.