Homeowners Take The Hit From New Zoning: QUOTABLE

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The Citizen’s Randall Denley takes a nuanced view of the sweeping new zoning laws that aim to end neighbourhoods of single-family homes:

The one thing supporters of what they like to call “gentle Intensification” have done is make it difficult to hold a contrary view. If you don’t want a four-unit apartment building next door, you’re just a mean person who doesn’t want to share your neighbourhood.

People chose single-family streets and paid a premium for it, confident that city zoning would keep their neighbourhood more or less intact. It’s not an unreasonable expectation. Now, politicians are changing the rules of the game, decades after much of the city was developed.


That might not seem fair, but when it comes to housing, the least important person in the equation is the one who buys the house and spends decades paying for it.

It’s interesting that planning committee chairman Jeff Leiper went into Highland Park some time ago and took the facile view that the wonderful neighbourhood should be opened up for multi-unit dwellings because the neighbourhood should not be the preserve of rich people. However, most people who live there bought those houses when they were relatively cheap.

Now they are house-rich and retired with expensive homes to keep up … many of the owners don’t have the money to do that. Leiper’s action would torpedo their retirement.

It’s interesting how pro-development Leiper has become since he was appointed planning chairman.

Don’t kid yourself. This measure in not about cutting the amount of greenhouse gas going into the environment from commuting because you could cut all the greenhouse gas coming from Ottawa and not make a blip on the total amount in our shared atmosphere with the rest of the world. And the housing crisis? Does anyone realistically think housing can be provided for the people who need it (the poor and recent immigrants) at a reasonable cost in single-family neighbourhoods? Not a chance.

This is about development … pure and simple … and money.

To read the whole Denley column, click here.

Ken Gray

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2 Responses

  1. Ron Benn says:

    Urban planning is an art form, not a science. It involves imagining how something might be better. Based more on wishful thinking that on tangible evidence. Assuming away the physical constraints put in place decades ago. Assuming away the needs and wants of the populace.

    We need to keep in mind that the neighbourhoods of yesteryear were designed by … wait for it … urban planners. Designs based on the flavour of the decade.

  2. sisco farraro says:

    Ron, your comments bring to mind a song called “Get ‘Em Out by Friday” by Genesis, with Peter Gabriel playing multiple parts in the little musical play. In the song the owner of an apartment has his flunky urging aging tenants to leave an apartment they have lived in for many years since “the directors of Genetic Control have been buying all the properties that have recently been sold” because henceforth “. . . . . people will be shorter in height” and “they can fit twice as many in the same building site”. Who knows what the planning department at city hall’s real agenda is as we move forward into uncertain times.

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