Councillor finally gets his carriage home
After two rounds of public hearings, a second city councillor has managed to secure permission to build a carriage home in South Kamloops.
However, while council reversed its earlier decision to turn down Coun. Donovan Cavers’ rezoning application at 917 Douglas Street, two councillors had some unusual design advice for the suite.
“I don’t think it would have hurt to have it faked like a garage for that visual aesthetic of people walking by,” said Mayor Peter Milobar at a public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 15.
The mayor was echoing earlier concerns from Coun. Nelly Dever — one of two councillors to vote against the rezoning — who said to meet the city’s guidelines, Cavers’ carriage home should have included a garage or even had a fake garage door painted on its side.
“When I read the definition of carriage suite, it’s supposed to be an accessory principal dwelling,” Dever said.
“How is it an accessory home? It doesn’t have a garage in it and it doesn’t have a dependant person living within the home.”
Cavers had applied to build a 44-square-metre loft-style home and had also applied for a variance that would allow for three stacked parking spaces at the back of the property.
Council originally voted against the rezoning application in December, in part because Milobar and others were concerned the design was more suited to a second home than to a carriage suite.
They agreed to reconsider the decision after Cavers had the design tweaked to lower the building’s height and remove a row of solar panels that neighbours worried would cause a glare.
Anne Grube, Cavers’ mother and the owner of the Douglas Street lot, said the family chose not to put a garage in the home because they prefer riding bicycles to driving.
“Somebody in the future perhaps might need parking spots, but we certainly do not,” she told council.
“And, why would we go to that extra expense and cover up the ground that could be utilized for plants?”
Grube said the home is well below the maximum height and size the city allows for carriage homes, adding that all but two households on her block are in favour of the project.
Leondard Piggin, speaking on behalf of his father, who lives next door to Grube, said he had concerns about the future of the neighbourhood if Cavers’ carriage house was allowed to go through.
“What city council has done with putting in these carriage suites is putting a total bull’s-eye on South Kamloops and saying, ‘We want you to be multi-family’,” he said.
Piggin said his father wants to see the neighbourhood he bought into in the late 1960s remain single-family and worries about the effect carriage homes could have on alley traffic and on-street parking.
Bruce Boulter, who lives across the alley, said he felt the carriage suite was still too big, even after the design changes.
He said he wouldn’t object if Cavers wanted to build a garage with an apartment on top, but said the two-storey suite will stick out in the neighbourhood.
“There’s definitely not a huge, gigantic two-storey garage in any of the back alleys,” he said.
Coun. Nancy Bepple didn’t agree, pointing out Grube could choose to build a garage with an 80-square-metre footprint on her lot without having to go to the trouble of rezoning.
Bepple said the suite is “far, far, smaller than many of the garages in the neighbourhood. It will fit into the size that’s already there.”
While Milobar said he was still struggling with whether Cavers’ design really fit the model of a carriage home, he agreed with Bepple’s argument.
“When I add it all together, I’m a little more comfortable with the proposal. I’ve not seen or heard anything tonight that’s a dealbreaker for me,” he said. “I’m not as worried about it as I was before.”
Only councillors Dever and Pat Wallace voted against the rezoning.