To the editor:

Let me add my voice to the hundreds of others in support of a reduction in the scope of planned development at Mitchell Road and commend the commentary in your last edition by Jerry Erbesfield, president of the Ridgemere Homeowners Association.

I attach below the letter I have sent to our mayor and city councillors seeking their support and recognition that homeowners in the neighborhood have tried, and thus far failed, to engage the developer in meaningful discussions about revising his plans, which are entirely unsuited for the land in question.

As a homeowner in the adjacent Surrey Place, I am seeking your support in denying the proposed zoning variance requests for the property owned by St. James Anglican Church, Inc. located at 5975 Mitchell Road.

The petitioner, Arrowhead Real Estate Partners, LLC, has requested the following concurrent variances: a reduction of the perimeter setback from 40 feet to 20 feet; a reduction of the interior building separation from 14 feet to 10 feet; a reduction of the 20 foot side yard set-back adjoining Mitchell Road to 10 feet; allowing the 20 foot front yard set-back to be measured from the curb.

I appreciate, and indeed support, the need to appropriately develop vacant land in our beautiful city, but believe that the footprint of this proposed development is ill-thought through and will substantially impact multiple properties and citizens in the surrounding neighborhood, including myself.

In brief, this proposal will:

  • Cause substantial water runoff and erosion issues creating potential flooding concerns;
  • Create an inadequate buffer area, resulting in a lack of privacy to adjacent neighbors;
  • Provide inadequate open space that is out of character with the surrounding properties;
  • Create safety concerns due to future falling trees and potential collapse of retaining walls on the downward slope of the proposed development;
  • Obliterate the native foliage, including several protected 100-year-old oak trees;
  • Create traffic and congestion issues.

While I am not opposed to the development of this property, I respectfully ask for your support to ensure it is developed on a lesser scale and it conforms to the current zoning ordinances.

The petitioner has shown no special circumstances or exceptional characteristics applicable to the property to demonstrate a hardship that prevents him from building a development that conforms to current zoning restrictions.

In fact, the spokespersons representing myself and the interests of other neighbors have met with the petitioner on numerous occasions and, despite repeated requests, he has made no effort to demonstrate a development plan that is in keeping with the strict application of the zoning code.

Rather, the petitioner has presented multiple plans with substantially similar variance requests geared to jamming as many units as possible onto this small plot.

Again, we do not wish to deprive him of his privilege to develop the property provided it is in keeping with the current zoning restrictions.

Thank you so very much for your support of this issue.

Chris Cramer