An apartment built against city bylaws in the industrial part of town will be no more.
On Monday, Cranbrook city council voted against amending the zoning bylaw to allow for the two bedroom apartment that had been built in a building at 800 Industrial Road.
The apartment in question is 93 square meter dwelling unit built inside a 1,210 square meter industrial building.
The zoning amendment bylaw was at its third reading and no one had spoken for or against it during the public hearing at the beginning of the meeting. Mayor Lee Pratt did note there were two letters received prior to the meeting and both were opposed to the amendment.
Coun. Norma Blissett echoed her concerns from the Nov. 2 meeting about having residential use in the industrial park.
“And not specifically for this subject property, but for the precedent this sets for every other property in the industrial park,” Blissett said. “I think we need to protect industrial land use so we don’t have residential use conflicting with it in that area.”
She said it also becomes a safety hazard, as the city won’t be able to control whether children live in the area.
Coun. Ron Popoff attended the Advisory Planning Committee.
“You’ll notice in our briefing notes that the Advisory Planning Committee did not support this proposal going forward and they sighted a number of reasons — that this is not consistent with what we talked about also at council,” Popoff said.
He added that if this was a new proposal from a developer in the industrial park rezoning for residential use, council would not be in favour.
“So before the fact, not after the fact — I’m pretty certain it would be unanimous amongst council to say, ‘No, it doesn’t conform with zoning and bylaws and the Official Community Plan.”
Coun. Tom Shypitka said his biggest problem was the way it was brought to council. He suggested that he would have been more comfortable had the proposal come before being built.
“It’s not a black and white world all the time, and sometimes there are considerations to be given,” Shypitka said. He alluded to what the applicant had said in his letter.
The applicant, Darrel Ogilvie, wrote: “This suite was put in to try and help pay the unfair tax bills all commercial/industrial land owners are burdened with in this town.” Shypitka noted that he goes on to say: “It is a known fact that integrating residential occupancy in an industrial park helps lower and prevent crime.”
Shypitka said that may be true.
“What I’m reading here is perhaps a landowner imposing their own policy over and beyond the city’s, and that’s the thing that I have probably the biggest trouble with — it seems it was done as one of those things — easier to ask forgiveness than permission,” Shypitka said. He added he understands the hardships of businesses in the economic times. “It’s not always easy as a business owner, I’ve been there myself, so that’s why I say, I might have a different mindset if it was brought to me in a different way.”
Coun. Danielle Cardozo disagreed with the other members of council. She noted the application may not be everything they wanted it to be, and recognized the state of the economy.
“Things are changing. Sometimes you have bylaws and rules that work at certain times and then things change and they don’t always work and we can’t expect every bylaw to stay the same always,” Cardozo said. “There’s going to be changing conditions. I trust our staff, I trust our building inspector, I trust the recommendation and I don’t think it’s going to be a family with children who are going to move into it, and if they do that’s their decision. I’d be hard pressed not to support it.”
The motion was defeated, with only Coun. Cardozo voting in favour.
Councillors Isaac Hockley and Wesly Graham were not in attendance for the meeting.