Kingston residents upset at new building proposal in their neighbourhood
A number of people are speaking out about a proposed new construction project in the University District. The owner of a property at 218 Albert Street has applied for a permit, asking to demolish a single-family home — and replace it with much larger housing, likely geared towards students.
“It’s just too much for the neighbourhood,” said Ken Ohtake, a resident of the area.
The main concern for several residents is the number of people the development, just steps away from the Queen’s University campus, could bring. According to the city document, the owners have asked to build a three-storey home, housing three separate units, which is taller than most houses in the region.
“It will clearly stick out like a sore thumb and it will also be a precedent for the rest of the block, for the same thing to happen,” said Ohtake, who has lived on the street for several years.
This wouldn’t be the first near-campus house to be rezoned to accommodate student housing, and likely not the last. Multiple properties in the surrounding region have also been rezoned to accommodate additional density in the student-heavy area. Jason Sands, senior planner with the City of Kingston, says it’s a common request to have applications of this nature.
“There have been similar examples of increased intensification of units on properties,” said Sands.
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But it seems the neighbours in the region have drawn a line in the sand with this application. A public meeting is being held on Thursday for the planning department to gauge the interest in this change — an important step for the process according to Sands.
“Staff are very interested to see what public comment arrives through that forum as well as our own technical review through that file.”
Concept drawings presented to the city illustrate 12 bedrooms in the new build, but Ohtake fears some of the studies and storage rooms could be converted into sleeping quarters over time.
“I’m guessing probably as much as 20-21 people on this property,” says Ohtake.
Sands, however, says the application process will allow them to enforce guidelines that will prevent such a measure from happening.
“There are regulations that would be then instilled, which would then form applicable law that must be adhered to city specification.”
It could be six months before the planning committee is ready to present their findings. Once completed, they will make recommendations to city council.
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