People living in bungalows across Newmarket should know that the Town will not object to a new building going up next door which towers over their home, perhaps overlooking their property and casting shadows over it.
The Town’s Established Neighbourhoods Compatibility policy is not worth the paper it is written on. Nor the much trumpeted zoning by-laws spawned by it.
The building under construction at 116 Eden Court is 9.7 metres high and looms over its neighbours. There is no dispute about the height of the building – only how the height is measured.
The Town’s Zoning By-law allows 8.5 metres. The applicant says the building is 8.29 metres high. How is it possible to have a disagreement over the height of a building?
9.71 metres vs 8.29 metres. Surely that is a matter of fact?
It’s not so simple.
In an Orwellian twist, the Town says height in this case should not be measured from the finished grade, where the building meets the ground at the front of the building, to the top of the roof. Instead, we are told 116 Eden Court has a pitched roof (though it looks very flat to me) which is measured from the ground to a “ridge” invisible to the eye.
Using this formula, the official top of the roof at 116 Eden Court is 1.42 metres (or 4' 8") below the actual top of the roof that we can all see with our own eyes. My photo shows a man standing on the top of the roof.
The new house looks way too big and too bulky for its immediate surroundings.
The Town’s compatibility policies say:
“Where a new building is being constructed within an established neighbourhood it must be designed, massed and located to respect the predominant context.”
The Town’s planners say:
“The applicant is proposing a two-storey building in a pie shaped lot with a moderate size which respects the general characteristics of the neighbourhood and maintains its compatibity.”
And that the application complies with:
“all applicable zoning standards except for lot coverage.”
Developers now have the green light to buy bungalows across Town and knock them down in the certain knowledge that an application for a new much bigger building, 9.7 metres high, based on the drawings submitted by the applicant at 116 Eden Court, will be approved.
For its part, the Committee of Adjustment is told by the Town it can only rule on the issue of lot coverage, not height.
And as the new building covers only a fraction more of the lot than it should – 31.5% instead of 30% - they allow construction to proceed.
Way to go!