Mayor Sharon Gaetz recently took advantage of a rarely used provision in the Community Charter that allows mayors to bring previously decided matters back for a second look.
At the Dec. 4 meeting, city council granted Philip and Lisa Gibbard's variance application to allow for a shop more than four times the allowable size to store personal vehicles on their Chapman Road property.
No neighbours complained about the application and no one attended the public information meeting to comment.
But on Dec. 13, Gaetz requested a new public information meeting be held to reconsider the application.
That meeting was held Jan. 22 at which Gaetz said she was lulled into not worrying about the permit to allow for the largest increase in lot coverage-percentage wise- the city has ever granted.
The 409-square-metre building on the one-acre lot in the Agricultural Land Reserve will cover 10.1 per cent of the property. The largest previous variance approved by council was for a 309-square-metre building on a one-acre lot, or 7.6 per cent lot coverage.
"On sober second thought, I now believe the impact would be greater than I thought," Gaetz said at last week's meeting.
"Ten per cent is not even close to what our bylaw says."
But Gaetz was alone on council with her concerns about the application and the precedent.
Coun. Chuck Stam called the lot "an urbanized piece of property" and said that 10 per cent "is only 10 per cent."
Stam added that this was now the second time neighbours had a chance to come to council if they had issues with the variance and no one complained.
Coun. Jason Lum said he understood the concern about precedents, but he had to look at the particular application.
"I heard some concern about the applicant using the ancillary building for use otherwise than intended, perhaps having a business there," Lum said, but added, "I have to go with what the applicant has said to us."
Lum's was the only mention by council of concerns the Gibbards might use the building for business.
The Gibbards own Gibby's Auto Body on Alexander Avenue, a business that is not currently operational according to a phone message.
The variance was again approved, this time in a four-to-one vote with Gaetz in opposition. Coun. Sue Attrill was not at the meeting and Coun. Ken Popove stepped out to avoid the perception of a conflict as he is a neighbour of the Gibbards.
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