A special meeting of the Planning Board, was held on Tuesday, 25 May, to review the Request for Reconsideration for Angus Drive (Lot 40) (PID #419143) & 413 St. Peters Road (PID #419135).
The Planning & Heritage Department encouraged the Planning Board to recommend to Council that it reconsider its 12 May decision to reject the rezoning application resolution.
A bit of history
It is worth remembering that Mel’s started out as a fruit stand some twenty-five years ago. Over time, that fruit stand began to offer gas for motorists coming and going from the Charlottetown area. Today, Mel’s has nine locations in two provinces.
2014: First rezoning application
In January 2014, wishing to develop the property, Mel’s owner sought to rezone part of one R-1L (single-detached residential dwelling) lot and all of one R-2 (low density residential) lot into a ‘Mixed Use Commercial’ in what is a Mature Neighbourhood. That application was deferred, but brought back before Council in April 2015, still with the purpose to expand the store and parking lot, but to two thirds (1,200 ft2 instead of 1,800 ft2) of the original area. Following a public meeting, the 2015 rezoning application was rejected.
2021: Reconsideration Request
A Request for Reconsideration must comply with Section 3.15.3 of the Zoning & Development By-law by providing new material facts/evidence not available at the time of the decision. The Reconsideration Request Plan 2021-25-May-6A document signed by Planning Manager Alex Forbes states that “The applicant [owner Dan MacIsaac] contends that during the public hearing on 23 March 2021, it was not made clear to Council and area residents (that in the absence of the Angus Drive access), there is not sufficient distance for a vehicle to safely exit our parking lot and change lanes entering the roundabout and proceed in an easterly direction.” And “The Province did not discuss in detail the potential problems related to directing all of the traffic exiting Mel’s property heading west on to St Peters Road. It is the traffic and safety implications that will result from this scenario that the applicant now contends that neither the public or Council were fully aware of at the public meeting.”
Both the applicant and provincial representatives were present at the public meeting on 23 March. Why did none of them fully apprise Council and area residents at that time?
Letʼs backtrack to the 8 March 2021 Council Meeting Package, in which: “Mayor Brown asked Mr. Yeo if the construction for the roundabout along St. Peters Road and Angus Drive will begin this year. Mr. Yeo responded that tenders were closed last Thursday and construction for the roundabout and road widening along St. Peters Road is anticipated to begin in May and be completed around August or September of 2021.” Clearly, the Province did not expect Charlottetown City Council to reject Mr MacIsaacʼs rezoning application and has now found itself in a bit of a pickle.
The Request for Reconsideration also has to comply with Section 3.15.3 of the Zoning & Development By-law in which a material change of circumstances has occurred since the initial order or decision [has been taken]. Mr Forbes’s Request document states: “At the public hearing, Councillor Tweel asked staff whether the proposed roundabout would proceed if the Angus Drive access and rezoning application request was not approved. [City planner] Laurel Palmer Thompson indicated that the roundabout would proceed if Mel’s rezoning application was denied. […] In hindsight, Ms Thompson should not have answered this question…”
Oopsies! I contend this ‘material change of circumstancesʼ doesnʼt pass the sniff test.
Listen to Coun. Tweel’s question and Ms Thompson’s reply in the video recording starting at 1:21:40.
Finally, Dan MacIsaac wrote in his Request for Reconsideration letter to Mr Forbes [p. 27 in 25 May Planning Board package]: “… but the traffic on Angus Drive will only increase from St Peters Road to the proposed Angus Drive access which is approximately 150 feet [=46 m].” And yet, in response to a question by Councillor Tweel, “Mr. Yeo responded that the increase in traffic along Angus Drive would be the first 100 metres [=328 ft].” See 6 April Planning Board package (p. 22/137).
Isn’t it about time that Canada become fully metricized so that everyone uses the same set of measurements?
Stay tuned for highlights of the 25 May Special Planning Board meeting.