(Cowansville) The City of Cowansville does not contravene its planning program by authorizing the construction of a building of 150 apartments on four floors in a heritage area of Main Street, concludes the Quebec Municipal Commission.
In its judgment, the administrative judge Sylvie Piérard wrote that although contradictions exist in the rules and urban visions of the city, zoning where the building is to be erected allows such constructs.
The amendment sector zoning, which paves the way for the realization of this project on the ground where the house Robinson is located, was challenged by a group of citizens. Some 420 people had applied to the CMQ to analyze the process and decide on its legality. Authorize such a project, have they pleaded, goes against the urban plan which proposes instead to protect the look and the whole heritage sector.
Piérard the judge does not see it that way. Citing decisions by the CMQ in other cases, it argues that “(…) the Commission should seek the intention of the City Council taking into account the specific elements of the Master Plan as land use (… ). ”
The judge added to his thought: “Now, the choice clearly expressed the council to authorize this project there is a question of opportunity that strictly falls within it.”
The development plan should be taken as a whole, she said substance. “It (the Commission) must not isolate the various provisions of the Master Plan or the PPU (note: special planning plan) that, taken separately, could demonstrate a non-compliance. It must take account of all the provisions as a whole and the clear intent, accurate and specific for the City as that of creating a residential area of high intensity in the heart of the PPU. ”
The side of the City, the decision was greeted with joy. “We are very satisfied, for sure,” said Deputy Mayor Sylvie Beauregard, joined Tuesday night. “We had confidence. We had confidence in our urban planning staff. They did a good job to prepare our new plan. ”
Mrs. Beauregard believes that the proposed seniors’ residence was poorly understood by part of the population. “An isolated cases,” she said about the overall development plan.
Unlike the opponents, Ms. Beauregard does not believe that automobile traffic problems harm the sector. The project does not harm the lake Davignon, located just next to the site eyed by developers, or the many old trees on the ground. Strict rules, included in the SPP, will supervise the construction of the building. “We have not decided that in five minutes. We really assessed the project, she said. “There will be monitored; no fears to have. ”
The construction of the building responds to a need for senior housing, said Deputy Mayor.
The board can therefore now adopt its new urban plan. It will keep a register for citizens who want a referendum to be organized. To do this, 500 signatures need to be collected.
Opponents evaluate their options
Member of the opposition group, Ghyslain Vallières said he was disappointed with the decision. He maintains that the City has made every effort to encourage property developers at the expense of the population.
“We arranged for the stage and the stage can accommodate a play staged by businessmen,” he began as a metaphor.
How to protect state sector can the council’s heritage by allowing such a project? asks Mr. Vallières. “We sacrifice our only heritage street. That he will protect now? It’s insane. ”
The former councilor argues that the case is not heard. Challenges options are available, including an appeal to the Superior Court. Funds are raised in this regard, he said.
The citizens group will meet in the coming days to analyze the judgment and decide what happens next, said Mr. Vallieres.