A Coldstream man’s plan to build a modular home on his Kalavista Drive property is being challenged by some of his neighbours who say they fear the home’s lack of “curb appeal” could “erode” the value of the surrounding properties.
Coldstream’s current bylaw does not allow for modular homes to be constructed in a residential single family zone. Longtime Coldstream resident Lynn Spraggs, 76, is requesting the District of Coldstream consider amending the bylaw to allow him to build his new home.
At a public hearing held to discuss the issue Monday night, Spraggs told council him and wife, Marilyn, plan to build a permanent modular home on property they own, at 8606 Kalavista Drive, where they intend to live as long as they “are able.” Their current home, at 8604 Kalavista Drive, would be occupied by his daughter and her family, whom Spraggs said, would be there to help he and his wife as they age.
Spraggs opened the hearing with a slide show outlining the construction phase of the home and its layout and design. In his presentation, Spraggs, a retired civil engineer, also said modular homes are typically more environmentally friendly and efficient.
He also said the smaller, ranch style (one-level) home is more appropriate for him and Marilyn as they begin to struggle getting up and down stairs.
Councillor Richard Enns asked if there was any cost difference between a modular home and a stick-built. Spraggs said this particular modular home would be more expensive to build but felt it was worth it. Spraggs elaborated, adding that one of the main reasons he chose to go the “modular route,” is because homes are generally constructed faster. Once approved rezoning, he noted, he could have his home built in as quickly as three months.
“I want to live in it before I die,” he quipped in response to Enns.
Prior to the hearing, the District of Coldstream received more than a dozen letters protesting Spragg’s project, expressing a litany of concerns about the project, including those of resident Gwen Laverdiere.
“Not sure why someone would consider it a good idea to allow a trailer to be placed beside million dollar homes on prime lakefront land,” Laverdiere wrote. “This would definitely affect the property value of the surrounding properties, along with the aesthetic of the neighbourhood.”
Garry McGovern echoed Laverdiere’s concerns in his letter.
“I don’t think new home builders will put money on a new home with a trailer park starting at the end of our street,” he wrote. “I hope the district votes no on the project.”
Coldstream’s Director of Development Service, Mike Reiley questioned if the concerns were related to a misunderstanding regarding the definition of a “trailer” versus a modular home, and differentiated between the two, while reassuring those concerned that Spragg’s home would maintain the aesthetic value of the neighbourhood.
“The proposed building is being placed on a permanent foundation with a crawlspace. It has a floor area of slightly less than 2,500 square feet well as a double-wide garage. The proposed home will have nine foot ceilings and the roof is designed with 24 inch eaves,” Reiley explained.
“Although the home may be smaller than some of the homes constructed on the waterfront, it will be similar to the majority of homes in the Kalavista neighbourhood.”
One of Spragg’s challengers, Larry Peters told council he had difficulty understanding why council would allow a “plain Jane home” to be built on what he says the provincial tax assessors call “a trophy neighbourhood.”
“These are multi-million dollar homes,” Peters said.
“I know the benefits of living in a modular home, having briefly lived in one while I was involved in an insurance claim years ago, but I don’t know why we’re putting this place, with its back to Alexander’s Beach Pub, and to the beach and to the people across the lake, in our trophy neighbourhood.”
Kalavista residents, Flo Ryan and Rob McKay, spoke in support of Spraggs, and chastised council for “a lack of due process,” in notifying residents of the public hearing, and subsequent “miscommunication.”
“I don’t think council really should be involved in approving this,” McKay told the audience.
“The amount of misinformation that has been put out is unacceptable from a public standpoint.
“There’s confusion — there’s people right now, that believe the application is actually to put a modular home on an existing lot with an existing home because it [the notice] wasn’t done properly.”
A notice announcing the public hearing was placed in The Morning Star on Dec.29 as mandated by the Local Government Act.
In response to some of the comments made that night, Spraggs said he believes in free speech, but is not sure why some people are offended by his project.
“Everybody has the right to say their piece,” Spraggs said.
“But I don’t think what I build on my property should upset anybody, especially if I’m building something nice.”
Mayor Jim Garlick moved to adjourn the matter until the next council meeting when more council members would be present to vote on the issue.