Coun. Donovan Cavers’s rezoning to allow a carriage house on the back of his mother’s Dominion Street property was defeated by his council colleagues Tuesday night.
Cavers and two other councillors — Marg Spina and Tina Lange — were absent from the discussion of his and another carriage suite application at a property a few blocks away.
But while the six remaining council members unanimously approved the carriage house for an L-shaped property at 1071 Seventh Avenue, they were evenly split on Cavers’s proposal.
The difference, Mayor Peter Milobar said, was that he felt a carriage house should be like an apartment over a garage. Cavers’s plans called for a two-storey, 63-square-metre house with outdoor parking on either side.
“It’s one thing to have an apartment over a garage and another to put stand-alone homes in alleys. That’s not the intent of this,” he said of the City’s definition of a carriage house.
Earlier in the evening, Milobar and the other five members of council approved a carriage house on a larger property that fit into the City’s required setbacks. It also had a garage.
Two residents of the area spoke against both applications, saying carriage houses could pop up throughout the entire neighbourhood, ruining the feel of the area and turning home properties into rentals.
But Leonard Piggin and Bruce Walter were particularly concerned about the Cavers application, as Piggin’s dad lives next door and Walter lives across the alley from Piggin.
Walter said carriage houses would be better suited to an area of town where there are larger lots, not the small lots and small houses of the downtown.
Piggin said his dad was worried about losing his privacy with the two-storey carriage house overlooking his back yard. And if everyone put in carriage houses — because the City allows them — then it could turn the entire neighbourhood into one that feels like it’s full of duplexes, he said.
Coun. Arjun Singh said more density in neighbourhoods adds to diversity. He noted only a couple of people spoke against the Cavers application.
Coun. Nancy Bepple said anyone could buy one of the small houses in the area, bulldoze it, and build a monster house. The carriage houses are a better compromise, she said.
Coun. Ken Christian said he supported the application because the City has decided carriage houses are suitable in the area and it met the criteria.
In the end, it was Christian, Bepple and Singh in favour and Milobar, Nelly Dever and Pat Wallace opposed. A tied vote means the motion goes to defeat.