A public hearing determined the fate of a proposed rezoning change to allow the building of a fourplex on Blackstock Rd. instead of a duplex.
“Council called me and said eight people showed up in opposition in rezoning the area and 30 people had signed some petition saying they don’t want four units there, just a duplex,” said Dr. Jonathon Vissher, who owns the lot in question.
According to the council report, the opposition was opposed to the increased density the project would bring, citing safety concerns over increased traffic on Blackstock Road’s sharp corner. There were other concerns as well.
“The residents expressed concern that increased density would also impact the residential character in the neighbourhood, which primarily has duplex and single-family dwellings,” reads the report. “Potential increases in noise and decreased privacy were noted as concerns.”
Lack of sidewalks and lighting was also mentioned. Visscher, who also owns Valley Dental, says he wanted to change the plans from a duplex to the fourplex to entice more working professionals to come to the community, a problem he faces when trying to hire a hygienist for his practice. After hiring a few people, they had to move on because they couldn’t find a place to live. In one case, one staff member was living in Visscher’s basement.
Accepting the public opposition to the project, the dentist has said he would just build the original duplex and has no plans on trying to build more units due to the costs and time wasted in trying to get the rezoning to happen.
“I think it’s raised some awareness,” he said. “I think it would be good if overall [the] town could have a discussion and look at it and be more receptive to future possibilities.”
Initially, the Visscher was confident there would be no problem, believing more rentals could only be an asset to the community.