Residents of Oakmont upset with city council
By: Viola Pruss
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 24, 2012 06:00 am
David Roulstone said he feels abused by the city.
The St. Albert resident spoke before city council Monday evening, protesting plans to change the land behind his property into a residential area.
The Oakmont neighbourhood is located between Bellerose Drive and Boudreau Road, south of the Sturgeon River. Landrex Developers Inc. had applied to the city to rezone 1.4 acres located at 101 Oakwood Dr. from urban reserve to low density residential. This would allow for the development of 10 single-detached homes.
Roulstone said building 10 new homes, all smaller in size than the ones in the neighbourhood, would decrease the value of his property, increase traffic in the area and leave him living in a construction zone for years.
A number of his neighbours came forward with similar concerns. They left frustrated after council unanimously voted in favour of rezoning the land.
“We are moving. I am not going to pay this tax rate for this kind of abuse,” Roulstone said after council adjourned.
Previously, council discussed several of the concerns raised by residents with administration.
Administration told council the land was designated urban reserve as a standard procedure to change it to a residential area later. The land had already been designated residential under the municipal development plan and as low density residential area under the Oakmont area structure plan.
Both plans have been in place for a number of years and it was no secret that 101 Oakwood Dr. was not intended as a green space, administration said.
Mayor Nolan Crouse said residents were worried about construction noise and potential safety issues from increased traffic.
“One of the comments is that we’ve been living with noise and dust long enough so I am wondering what will happen with that in the future,” he said.
Administration said that certain restrictions were in place and if there was noise at night, residents could contact bylaw enforcement.
Traffic could only go through Bellerose Drive, the only road into the subdivision. A traffic study had been completed and the development was considered to have only slight impact on traffic volumes.
The major concern for residents in the area was the loss of value to their property though.
Doug Rosentreter said they had a realtor come into their homes in the past week who said the value of their houses would lower with the construction of the new buildings.
Administration said it was common in the area to have smaller lots near larger ones. It added that building newer homes in an older neighbourhood often raised the value of houses instead of decreasing it, a comment that raised eyebrows among residents.
“I don’t think we would be nearly as upset about this if it was matching lots, if there were seven homes instead of 10. That would leave us a little less concerned about the value of our properties,” Roulstone said.
Roulstone bought his house five years ago and said it has already lost $125,000 of its value because of a nearby Sarasota development at 100 Orchard Court.
“Ten little homes, I don’t see how that will increase the value of our home,” he said.
Other concerns brought forward included the loss of green space and trees. Administration noted the site is privately owned, so it was up to the developer to decide whether they would replace trees and green spaces.
Landrex project manager Jim Sheasgreen said the company was going to take the first trees down in the fall but agreed to replace some of the greenery as required by the city.
“We try to provide landscaping wherever we can,” he said.
Crouse said Landrex should distribute a letter to area residents to inform them on the laws and regulations applying to the use of the land. Residents should also receive information about the traffic impact assessment.
“We owe it to the folks to explain what is the expectation of Landrex when it comes to trees, boulevards and whatnot,” he said.
“I would like to know that if I was living in the area.”