Affordable Housing on George Street

At the back of the house at 513 George Street (on the corner with Princess Street) is a garage that has been damaged by fire and now the owners are planning to rebuild it but with the addition of a small apartment on top. Nancy Lashley and Lawrence Foster have asked for a zoning variance to allow them to add this – it’s called a “Coach House”.  Note that because it’s so small it would have to be an affordable rental apartment.  Also, it was only in January 2017 that the Zoning By-law was amended to permit coach house dwellings (Bylaw number 013-2017 – see links below to download from Town web site).  At the Council meeting on September 10, Council approved the variance.  No public meeting was required – just notification of nearby property owners.

You can be excused if you had not heard of a coach house – it’s a relatively new idea.  Coach Houses can be used to house a family member or they can be rented out.  Services come from the main house – so presumably there are no separate water or hydro meters.  The existing main house must be a single detached, semi-detached or townhouse dwelling – duplexes etc. are not eligible.  The idea fits with Provincial directives related to providing affordable housing by increasing intensification.  It also fits with the Official Plan but not with the fine details of the Zoning bylaw.

Below are two photos – one shows a Google street view from Princess Street and the other the proposed floor plan.

Click photos to enlarge or close

513 George St - Princess St View
513 George St – Princess St View
513 George Street - floor plan
513 George Street – floor plan

There are three reasons for the variance:

  • The minimum required lot frontage for a coach house dwelling is 60 ft but the house is on a 50 ft lot facing George Street on the corner of Princess.
  • The minimum distance of the coach house dwelling from side and rear lots lines must be 1.2m but only 0.6m is proposed
  • A new Coach house should have one additional non-tandem parking space but none is proposed.

Since these are considered to be minor issues, the planning department recommended that a variance be issued and so the Committee of Adjustment and now Council have approved them.  One by one, people are finding ways to meet the demand for low cost Rental housing.  Maybe the slightly lower taxes are an incentive (see Link below)

Links

Clarification – Sept 16

Note: In these cases, approval is actually given by the Committee of Adjustment. Council did not approve the variance but instead endorsed the comments by the Planning Department. There was in fact a “public meeting” – it was the Committee of Adjustment meeting which was held the next day (Sept 11) and they did approve the variance with conditions (More at Town Portal here).

Addendum – September 11

There’s more happening in affordable Housing in Cobourg.  This announcement was released today.

Community Agencies work alongside local tenants to secure affordable rental housing

Led by The Salvation Army Community and Family Services, local community organizations have come together to work alongside a local couple to help secure affordable rental housing at a time when housing is becoming more and more unaffordable in Northumberland County. The Salvation Army Community and Family Services, St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Northumberland County and Habitat for Humanity Northumberland have come together to renovate an apartment unit owned by St. Peter’s Anglican Church. After a month of renovations and hard work, the two new tenants, who helped to fix up the unit, proudly moved into their new space in Cobourg over the Labour Day long weekend.

Download Full details in Press Release here.

Tenant Gerry and Volunteers
Tenant Gerry and Volunteers

Photo at right: Representatives and volunteers from The Salvation Army Community and Family Services, Habitat for Humanity Northumberland, Northumberland County, and St. Peter’s Anglican Church join one of the new tenants, Gerry, outside 264 College St.

Habitat for Humanity

 

 

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Walter L. Luedtke

An interesting article on how to increase density in established neighborhoods here:
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/art-and-architecture/article-how-to-remake-torontos-old-neighbourhoods-low-but-dense/
But would ‘low but dense’ fit heritage guidelines in Cobourg?
And this article on ‘garage apartments’ may be a bit scary, but would certainly serve some needs:
https://www.narcity.com/ca/on/toronto/news/your-next-rental-apartment-in-toronto-will-probably-be-a-tiny-converted-garage-in-someones-backyard

Albert

With a low vacancy rate and an affordability crisis in Cobourg, these tiny houses could be an option.
The Town Planning Department should have a look at the Toronto regulations.

Incredulous

I cannot believe these fellows have nothing better to do – get out and volunteer and help organizations and those in your community who need assistance… Get a life!

Walter L. Luedtke

The main question underlying this discussion is densification/infilling vs subdivision sprawl.
It is a topic debated in every Ontario urban municipality.
Members of the Northumberland County affordable housing committee have stated Cobourg needs more housing units for single people. Cobourg’s vacancy is 0.3% – 3.0% is normal.
Miss Chorley has emerged as a prominent opponent of densification as stated in her presentations to Council.
She is now running for Council and it is appropriate, indeed necessary, to discuss her record on this important topic.
To set the record straight, it was Miss Chorley who first brought up Mayor’s relationship with the owner of 394 College Street at the Council Meeting in August of last year.
https://northumberland897.ca/news/2017/8/22/rezoning-proposal-leads-to-heated-exchange

Dubious

If politicians do not declare obvious conflicts of interest then every thinking resident should “bring up” these disclosed gifts to their relatives. Ms Chorley should be commended for doing so. Don’t you agree?

Wally Keeler

There was no conflict of interest.

Dubious

So in your opinion politicians providing benefits to relatives is completely acceptable? Not to me!

Wally Keeler

My opinion is that there was NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST. End of story.

Walter L. Luedtke

Ms Chorley is astute enough to have researched any legal case for a conflict of interest in the matter of 394 College Street.
There was and is none.
She brought it up anyway,
Go figure why!

Frenchy

The main question underlying this discussion should have been densification/infilling vs subdivision sprawl.
However, the way you introduced this thread was with a cynical smear against Mrs. (or perhaps Ms, but definitely not Miss) Chorley and that smear has taken it over.
You just can’t help yourself Walter. When you latch on to a negative idea or thought (i.e. the CTA or it appears now, Ms Chorley), you lead with it on every topic and try to run it into the ground.

As an aside, for the most part, spelling and grammatical errors are usually given a pass on this board but you have chastised me and others here and cynically suggested we get a high school graduate to proofread our posts for us. You might want to read over your posts and consider doing the same.
Those who stir la merde, should be made to lick the spoon.

damit

Fantastic post, well said sir.

Frenchy

What makes you think I’m a “sir”?

damit

While serving in the Military a good friend of mine had the nickname of Frenchy. His parents came from France. I assumed the same here, if not forgive me Madame.

Ben

Let’s be clear about ‘affordable housing’; allowing the private sector to give us AH is a scam. Affordable Housing (AH) can only be provided when the market forces are removed from the equation. Any developer that says that a % of the development will be affordable is conning you. That AH house will either be a much smaller unit – hence the lower price or subsidised by the rest of the development and that affordability will disappear when the house is sold at market value.

Affordable housing can only be achieved when the profit motive is removed or if built on cheap land. Either way that means that governments need to be the prime mover for this. Unfortunately in this day and age any government that attempts to do this will be excoriated as ‘socialists’. So we will be stuck with the gimmick that appears to be the subject of this article.

Walter L. Luedtke

The nerve of some people!
Here these folks invest their own money to create accommodation, generate income and pay more taxes.
What we need are some Emily-Chorley-type Heritage/Nimby regulations to nip this sort of thing in the bud.

John Hill

Let’s be fair, Mr. Luedke. Emily Chorley stood for an unwarranted zoning change that benefitted the Mayor’s niece. I sat through the council debate. Never did I hear Ms. Chorley say anything to say she favored a policy of limiting rental housing. You and other on line trolls are spreading misinformation possibly trying to influence an election outcome. This is entirely reminiscent of electoral activity carried out in the 2016 U,S, election.

Damit

Well put and stated.

Cobourg Person

“…benefited the Mayor’s niece”

And would also benefit many low income residents that require affordable housing.

Bryan

A one BR apt at $1,795 plus water, sewer and electricity. Exactly how is this affordable housing and a benefit to low income residents? What reality are you living in CP?

Wally Keeler

If you have a concern with a mayor’s niece or the niece or nephew of any councilor, you should lobby to change the law to include nieces and nephews.

Bryan

I agree. The municipal conflict of interest law currently provides that there is a conflict if the transaction involves your spouse, parents, in-laws or children but not your grandparents, brother or sister.

Walter L. Luedtke

Let’s be fair, Mr. Hil,l and not start with a smear against the Mayor.
And do let me quote from Ms Chorley’s submission to Council:
“The proposed five rental units could impact the neighbourhood’s quiet, residential character with increased noise, traffic, parking congestion, and the potential for transient tenants (AirBnB rentals, sublets or short-term rentals).
The Town has not conducted a traffic study or considered the wider impact of this proposed development. Increased traffic could impact school children, older residents, and local pedestrians – particularly at the intersection of College and University.
If R4 zoning is granted, it could set the precedent for other local heritage homes to be converted into multiple rental units.
All classic Heritage/NIMBY talking points to limit rental housing.
And yes! I fixed the 2016 Presidential Election in the US. Premier Ford’s election too. And I shall fix the 2020 election too.

Dubious

…and not start with a smear against the Mayor.

Why do you consider the completely factual statement that the rezoning benefited the Mayor’s niece to be a “smear”?

Damit

It is what a troll does. Do not smear my Mayor, but Emily, smear away.

Wally Keeler

Quoting Emily is a smear?

Damit

Try his entry into the topic. He brought her name into this topic although she was not mentioned at all. Completely separate case than the College st apartments but could not help himself. He is a troll.

Walter L. Luedtke

The topic is apartment conversions. Ms Chorley had to say a lot to say about that topic. 3 presentations on the same topic. Must be a record.

Damit

Yet no mention of her in this article. But let’s make sure we inject her into it to stir the pot right?

manfred s

just what is a “troll”?

Frenchy

https://unlcms.unl.edu/engineering/james-hanson/trolls-and-their-impact-social-media

“a social media troll is someone who purposely says something controversial in order to get a rise out of other users.”

manfred s

is there a name for someone who takes the bait? 😉

Dubious

Poster?

Walter L. Luedtke

God forbid we should have any controversy in this blog, Manfred.

manfred s

“controversy” is the fuel that keeps a discussion from going limp, from becoming a ‘pat my back and I’ll pat yours’ hugfest, from becoming a pointless waste of time, from ending up in the recycling bin. “controversy” – disagreement, typically when prolonged, public, and heated. Sounds like many discussions we see right here on this blog, Walter. I’m with you, and if that’s trolling, so what. Giving that activity a condescending label is only an effort to sanitize, to assemble like-minded folks in a space where they can cuddle in agreement on what they choose to agree upon, the way this ‘troll’ sees it, anyway. (fist bump)

Wally Keeler

The fact is irrelevant because there is no conflict of interest.

Dubious

In Ontario benefiting your niece is not a legal conflict although it would be a serious conflict in the minds of most and was assuredly not a politically astute action.

Contrast that with the Federal situation. Yesterday the federal Ethics Commissioner ruled that benefiting a Minister’s wife’s cousin was a conflict (the SurfClamGate fiasco).

Damit

I am glad the College St apartments went through. However in my opinion the Mayor should have declared a conflict. Most I have spoken to about it feel the same way. As Dudious stated a poor political move.

Wally Keeler

Only your bubble speaks to you. MOST? Pish posh.

Damit

So my bubble is most people I speak to. What is pish posh about that. Most would assume that some did not agree. Another troll trots out, this time to jump to his Walters aide.

Wally Keeler

“…it would be a serious conflict in the minds of most”

MOST? Speculative fiction.

Dubious

It is certainly speculative but based on the speculation that most are honest men/women with scruples. Clearly not a universal truth.

Wally Keeler

And individuals with public office are honest and with scruples when they obey the law, including conflict of interest laws. Don’t like the law? Lobby to change it. In the meantime all you are asking is to stretch the law beyond what is proscribed. Obey the law; and so it was. Przt!

Dubious

Scruples and honesty are not legal requirements but are expected of politicians. Sadly they are often lacking.

Wally Keeler

I expect scrupulous and honest politicians to obey the law. The Mayor and Town Council obeyed the law. Why don’t you lobby for change in the Conflict of Interest laws instead of whining about your lost cause, and it is a lost cause. Put your energies to that lobby instead of flogging a dead horse on this blog.

Dubious

Requiring scruples and honesty is a far higher standard than merely obeying the law. Shaming and not re-electing miscreants is more effective than changing the law. Does our new Mayor even have a niece who is a developer?

Wally Keeler

Requiring scruples and honesty is a far higher standard than merely obeying the law.”

In a democracy everything is permitted except that which is forbidden.
In a dictatorshit everything is forbidden except that which is permitted.

Freedom is the highest standard of humanity, far higher than your feeble attempt to stretch the law to overreach on other people’s lives. So what if it is a niece or nephew. Tell us how that is such a gross offence against social morality that it should be included in the Conflict of Interest Act.

Wally Keeler

most most most

Why are you unable to make a cogent argument without having to reach for the comfort blanket of ‘most’? Your assertions of ‘most’ are fabrications that merit nothing on the fact meter. Quit posturing that you are the voice of ‘most’. Your insecurities are showing when you rely on the backing of an imaginary crowd known as ‘most.’ You should read e e cummings about what he said about “mostpeople”

Frenchy

Inject controversy when there is none here.
I hesitated to call you a troll, but the name definitely fits.
Those who stir la merde, should be made to lick the spoon.

Wally Keeler

Those who stir la merde, should be made to lick the spoon.”

Dissidents in totalitarian or authoritarian countries are forced to lick those spoons. There’s always a big boss punishing a scheiße disturber.

The problem with gówno in the outhouse is that it develops a thick crust, suppressing dissidents stagnates a society. To clean the outhouse, a pole is required to break the crust before dumping down some chemicals followed with a bucket of water, POOF! That’s what dissidents do.

Calling an individual a troll is as stupid as calling an individual a white supremacist, or nazi, if their political opinion differs from one’s own.

Damit

You are missing the point of what a troll is.

Damit

Hopefully they get the permission.

Mrs. Anonymous

“Note that because it’s so small it would have to be an affordable rental apartment.

Could it also not be used as an Airbnb? It wouldn’t be the first coach house in Cobourg used for short term rental accommodation.”

There don’t appear to be any regulations in Cobourg around short term vacation rentals. Landlords can make a lot more money without the hassle of the landlord tenant act with these things.