240 residents vote to cancel height change proposal of strip mall
The citizens living nearby Elm Plaza in Beaconsfield have won an important battle in their struggle to stop the strip mall from gaining in height. A total of 240 of them signed a register to stop the zoning bylaw change yesterday forcing council to choose between holding a referendum or pulling the zoning change from the bylaw. Photo Archives.
The Elm Plaza saga has taken a new turn yesterday as 240 residents voted in the register requested from council to cancel the zoning bylaw change on the Elm Plaza structure just north of Highway 20.
Council had recently proposed to raise the level of density from two to four storeys in a huge zoning bylaw change that encompassed many other changes to various zones across the city. Due to popular resentment, an amendment had later been made to change the zoning from four to three storeys but that had not satisfied the residents living nearby the strip mall whose properties would have been overlooked by a higher structure, depriving them of privacy and sunlight.
Yesterday (Thursday), residents of four zones neighbouring Elm Plaza had to obtain 181 signatures at city hall to force a referendum on the issue. A member of the group of opponents, Ike Partington was ecstatic when she spoke to The Chronicle Friday but she was wary that the city could choose to go to a referendum on the issue.
"It's not over yet. Council can choose to go to a referendum on this. A referendum involved the whole of Beaconsfield. I don't think they'll go that route, I think the citizens have spoken. We're ecstatic right now because it was a huge number to get out. To get 240 people out to vote is just phenomenal," she said.
Council has now two choices: it can either go through the referendum process which would cost the city a large amount of money or pull the zoning change from the bylaw. Councillor Rhonda Massad who had voted against the zoning change bylaw because of the changes to the zoning in Elm Plaza doesn't know what road council will decide to go down next.
"I don't what's going to happen. It all depends on what the mayor wants. The people have spoken and it's very clear that they're not interested in densification. They're angry. They asked the council to wait on this and the council chose not to. I wanted to wait, I wanted to hold off and go over it again but it was pushed through," she said.