City looks to strike balance with infill policy

CTV News December 18, 2013 - There’s a new look to many established Saskatoon neighbourhoods

Newly-constructed houses are supplanting decades-old homes and transforming streets in many older neighbourhoods, and while the city welcomes the recent surge in infill development it is also working to improve regulations so the new homes are a better fit with the existing neighbourhood.

“The goal is to try and make it so there's less of a building towering over a smaller neighbouring house and allowing the sun to get into the other person's back patio,” said Coun. Charlie Clark.

The city says new standards will regulate the height and size of new buildings but will also allow for a developer to sub-divide a lot. That could allow homeowners to build a separate rental suite in their backyard or above their garage.

Anne Smart, who has lived in the City Park neighbourhood for 25 years, wonders if aging infrastructure can handle the additional demands presented by the proposed new housing options.

"I really want the planning department to take seriously the need to look at how we fund the upgrades to back alleys, how we put in lighting, who pays for it, what do we do with water and sewer and what do we do with the parking,” Smart said.

City councillors agree, saying the infrastructure needs to be monitored, but don't believe this plan will add that many more people. Clark says these details will be worked out.

“There’s obviously a lot of attraction to living in these older neighbourhoods and people want to be there, so we are just saying let's look at ways to make sure the buildings fit in."

Council will receive more detailed reports on suite guidelines, as well as the infill strategy’s effect on traffic and water infrastructure, in the coming months, before approving the final plan.

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