By Collin Gallant on May 2, 2017.
Medicine Hat News
The zoning of a home located across from the main entrance of Medicine Hat Regional Hospital will remain as is after city council rejected an application to set up a denture clinic.
Council members voted 6-2 against rezoning the lot on the corner of Fifth Street and Seventh Avenue to a neighbourhood commercial zone that would allow a business to be set up at the location.
Neither the applicant, nor those opposed, took part in a public hearing held on the subject but council members said the nature of the largely residential community had seen a number of offices set up over the years.
It was time for a halt, said Coun. Bill Cocks.
“Zoning should only be changed cautiously when there is a real need for it,” he said during debate, noting the area is largely low-density residential. “I’m not prepared to abandon that just yet.”
Couns. Jamie McIntosh, Julie Friesen and Robert Dumanowski also spoke against the change, citing traffic concerns and saying that over the years offices in homes had been allowed, but the new Herald Development Plan in an adjacent community, dampens the possibility.
Mayor Ted Clugston said doctors’ offices are a different matter as they often go back and forth from the hospital and may want to set up nearby.
Planning commission members couns. Brain Varga and Jim Turner voted in favour.
According to the application, the lot and home would remain mainly unchanged from the exterior, and only serve about four to six visiting clients each day.
Fifth Street SW residents James and Patricia MacLaren submitted a letter in opposition to the development. It stated there was an excess of professional space in the area and the traffic levels were already high.
City officials have said they hope to revisit the parking and traffic plan in the area after the new portion of the hospital and parking lots are in use.
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