Muting housing opposition

A full house is expected at city council chambers for a controversial rezoning application Tuesday evening.

The public hearing will determine whether a piece of property at the corner of McCurdy and Rutland Road is appropriate for a four storey apartment building.

The apartment, if approved, would house a 49-unit supportive housing development for graduates of the Freedom's Door drug and alcohol program.

Residents of the area are not happy with the prospective clientele, and it's anticipated they will show up en masse Tuesday night to voice that displeasure.

However, they may not get that opportunity.

When council gave initial approval three weeks ago, triggering the public hearing, it was reminded only the zoning could be discussed, meaning only whether the land was appropriate for an apartment.

At this point in the process, council was told they could not, as per the Local Government Act, determine an outcome based on who will reside on the premises.

"There is no policy regulating where supportive housing should be distributed within the city," said city planner Adam Cseke at the time the application was first presented.

"The city analyzes apartment buildings based on their land use and the form and character merits, not based upon the users of that building."

That also means those speaking out against the project would presumably have to keep their comments to zoning issues, such as parking and traffic impact, not the purpose of the building.

That debate would come at a later date.

As of Friday afternoon, the city had received 54 individual letters, 38 in support and 16 against.

It had also received a petition with more than 700 signatures opposing the apartment.

The property is the current site of the Knights of Columbus building.

At the time of initial approval, some on council suggested they had some concerns but wanted to hear what both sides had to say at a public hearing.

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